THAT ONE’S MINE — S-GI’s Brandon Sullivan chases down a ball against a Pioneer defenseman. Sullivan is a three-year starter for the Griffs. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — After finding themselves on the losing end of the stick, in six out of their last eight games, the members of the Springville-Griffith Institute boys soccer team let out some frustration in their playoff opener on Oct. 21. In a matchup against Albion, Springville took down the visiting Purple Eagles 4-1, behind a performance by Springville senior Kevin Zabawa. Zabawa opened the scoring in the 17th minute, to give Springville a 1-0 lead, and then added another goal in the 22nd minute, to give the Griffs a 2-goal advantage.
“Albion played a strong game; they had good touch with the ball and moved the ball quickly,” said Springville coach Tom Szczerbacki. “We worked hard, played pretty well defensively and most importantly, when we had opportunities, we finished.”
During the first round of the Section VI playoffs, Springville tied its season high with 4 goals. Contributing to the offensive production, along with Zabawa, was Dustin Emerson and Brandon Sullivan, who each added goals in the second half, to give the Griffs a cushion. Junior center midfielder Owen Gow also had two assists, in the match.
“It felt great to have that win,” said Springville senior Brandon Sullivan. “I didn’t want to lose one game and already be out of the playoffs. We played like a team and scored first, instead of being down in the first half.”
Springville keeper Nolan Gill was huge in the victory, according to Szczerbacki. Gills, a junior, has come on in the second half of the year in net. He has improved his goals against average from 3.3, during the team’s first eight games, to 2.75, during the team’s last eight games.
“Nolan Gills was huge in goal,” noted Szczerbacki.
“He played aggressive, played the angles well and made a couple huge saves, early in the second half.”
The win was Springville’s first playoff victory since 2011.
“The win feels great,” said Szczerbacki. “This team has worked hard, all season. I’m really proud of [them] and excited for these guys to get another opportunity to play. “
Springville played Riverside on Oct. 23. Riverside received an automatic bid to the quarterfinals of the playoffs, by going 11-0 during the regular season.
More details on the match will be published in next week’s edition of the Journal.