Monday, December 9, 2013
By GREG REID Special to the Press Herald
PORTLAND - New season and a new school year, but the same old nemesis for the Deering boys' soccer team.
Tim Rovnak scored in each half Thursday night to lead the Bulldogs to a 2-0 win over the Rams in a Western Class A game before a crowd of 450 at Deering's Memorial Field.
It was a familiar result for these cross-city rivals. A year ago it was Rovnak who scored twice to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 win at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
"I thought we dominated the midfield and most games are won through that," said Deering Coach Joel Costigan. "Unfortunately they have a player like Tim Rovnak, who is athletic and has the mindset that he's going to win the ball. And two years in a row he's done that."
It was the first day of school for the Portland schools, and the large crowd was boosted by the doubleheader atmosphere, which started with a game between the schools' girls' teams. In that game, Deering rallied from a 1-0 deficit to beat Portland, 3-1.
Portland went up 1-0 when Rovnak took advantage of a defensive breakdown with 17:17 left in the first half, slipping the ball past Deering goalkeeper Anthony Russo (five saves) from about 12 yards.
"I just was able to get a through ball and put it in the back of the net," Rovnak said.
"We were ball watching," said Costigan. "We hesitated and two Portland players were there, they wanted it and got it."
Rovnak scored again with 8:52 left in the second half, heading in a corner from Sam Farr for a 2-0 lead.
"We needed it at that point," said Portland Coach Rocco Frenzelli. "I didn't know about (a one-goal lead), but two (goals) made me feel a little bit better."
The play was another example of how dangerous Farr was on dead balls all night. Whenever Portland (1-1) was awarded a free kick within 40 yards of goal, Farr took it and created havoc, either playing it into the box or putting a shot on himself.
The dead balls helped generate an offense that Deering (0-1-1) otherwise stymied at midfield. The Rams' Ben Peterson did a nice job closing down lanes and making smart, crisp passes, notably to Stephen Ochan, who kept Portland keeper Chip Weber (seven saves) on his toes, sending hard drives in from about 25 yards. Deering outshot Portland, 14-8.
"Chip was cool under pressure, controlling everything Deering threw at us," Frenzelli said. "He was directing (the defense) all night long, doing what he had to do."
The intensity of the rivalry was clear from the physical play throughout. Ochan limped off the field after a hard slide tackle with about nine minutes to play. About three minutes later, yellow cards were issued to a player from each team after a hard tackle and an ensuing response.
"It doesn't get much better, two great teams, they played a great game. It's about bragging rights. You got to love it," Rovnak said.
"This is a big win, but but none the less we have a lot of work to do and we're eager to get at it."