Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team Takes Season Opener Against Rivals Riverdale
The Hackley Boys’ Varsity Soccer (BVS) Team opened its 2022 campaign with a challenging fixture against arch-rival Riverdale at the infamous postage stamp, grass pitch they call home.
Riverdale is always a tough matchup, particular on their home turf. The field is tiny, the turf rough and the play can get chippy. Hackley was also down standout central defender and captain Fritz Lauerwald due to sickness.
Even so, early on, Hackley looked to be the better team, almost scoring 3 minutes in when senior Michael Abbey missed a near-post one-timer. Additional opportunities came for the Hornets as the half progressed, with Riverdale having trouble penetrating a stingy Hackley back four. Missed scoring opportunities were mounting. Junior Caleb Bae was injured after a flagrant flying elbow caught him in the face. Down two defensive starters, the Hornets readjusted and kept their ranks tight.
The breakthrough came unexpectedly 25 minutes in, when junior midfielder Cliff Chapman (pictured) hit a 40+ free kick that snuck over the fingertips of the Riverdale keeper and landed in the back of the net. The goal boosted the Hornets’ confidence but also spurred Riverdale on. As is the case at Riverdale, the ball was bouncing around erratically at times, with moments of controlled play limited. The score was 1-0 Hackley at the half.
The second half saw more of the same, with a predictable late push by Riverdale. Injuries also played a role, as several more Hornet starters were replaced as the game wore on. Substitutes filled in nicely, showing the depth of the squad.
The team dropped to a more defensive 4-4-2 formation, and outside of one or two good chances, Riverdale was held off and the score stayed 1-0 as the final whistle blew. Hornets felt some relief and also pride as the new season had started with a positive result on the road, and a quality clean-sheet for goalie John Churchill ’23.