On fan appreciation day, the Jamestown Community College men's soccer team gave back by treating spectators to an offensive show.
As Athletic Director Keith Martin, along with a number of others, handed out freshly grilled hot dogs and ice cold sodas and water, the Jayhawks, riding high and in the midst of a two-game winning streak, continued their solid play on Saturday afternoon by handing the visiting Onondaga CC Lazers a 3-0 defeat in NJCAA Region 3 Division III action.
The victory was the third in a row for the streaking Jayhawks, improving their record to 6-5-1 overall and 4-3-1 in Region 3 play heading into a crucial stretch of the season.
Gage Bird of Jamestown Community College fights off an Onondaga CC player to control the ball in Saturday’s NJCAA Region 3 Division III men’s soccer game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J phots by Rob Tucker
"I'm pleased with the victory," JCC coach Pat Anderson said. "We've got a stretch of games right now (over the next two weeks) where we need to win a large majority of them to put ourselves into position (for playoffs). Right now we're off to the right start and hopefully we can continue this."
If they can play they way they did on Saturday, there's a good chance the victories will keep coming.
Gage Bird led the way with a pair of goals, upping his season total to six, but it was teammate Connor Meekins' goal early in the opening half that would be all that was necessary to capture the victory.
The Jayhawks got off to a blistering start behind quick, accurate passes that led to heavy offensive pressure and kept the Lazers on their heels. Just 45 seconds into the contest Nolan Farr very nearly scored when he fired a shot that went just wide of the right post.
Undeterred by the missed opportunity, however, JCC came right back six minutes later as Blake Barker, with his back to the Onondaga goal, gained possession of the ball and made a quick pass to Meekins, who was running along the left side of the area. Alone in space, Meekins easily beat the goaltender for the 1-0 lead.
"We were pretty solid in the beginning," Anderson said. "We made a few nice combinations and put together three or four passes and did some things that looked pretty good.
"Then we started to try to do too much to fast."
With the lead in hand, and the offense losing some of its crispness, it was the defense that picked up the slack. Over the entire first half, that defense - manned by, among others, Evan Ahlstrom, Mike Hallmark and Nick Anderson - allowed the Lazers just one shot on goal.
"It was nice (to have the defense play so well) because a few times we didn't give them as much help as we should have and they still managed to hold up," Anderson said. "It was a hard day for Ben (Morgan, JCC goalie), he didn't really have a lot of tough shots to stop and that's something that we try to make happen as often as we can. Evan Ahlstrom was awesome in the back, Mike Hallmark was very, very good and Nick Anderson has been spectacular the last few games."
Bird got the offense back in rhythm in the 43rd minute when he headed a free kick from Paul Andalora into the back of the net to push the advantage to a pair.
Bird added one more tally for good measure at the 83rd minute when he took a lead pass from Kaleb Pierce and sent a curling shot from outside the area over the leaping goaltender's outstretched arms and into the upper left corner.
"He's a very high-quality scorer, that's all there is to it," Anderson said. "The fact that Blake Barker (seven goals this season) has been scoring more has allowed Gage to see a little more space. Now Gage is getting more room to work, and with his speed and his skills he's just going to keep scoring goals."
JCC has little time to enjoy the victory, however, as they are right back in action today at 1 p.m., against Broome CC. It is another crucial game.
"This is what we've been building for," Anderson said, "this two weeks. We've got to win a bunch of these regional games to put ourselves in position for a high seed."