Proctor made a living off its corner kicks in Saturday’s 6-1 victory over Mount St. Joseph in Division IV boys soccer action at Abatiell Field.
All but one of the Phantoms’ goals came after a corner kick and some of them directly off Joe Valerio’s deft serves.
“If there were no corner kicks this is a 2-1 game,” MSJ coach Josh Souza said.
Valerio has taken the corner kick to an art form and his teammates have become extremely good at reading the ball off his foot and doing damage with it in the box.
“Joe gives us a great ball and we practice them,” said Brennon Crossmon who had one of the goals.
The Phantoms were coming off their biggest win of the season, a 2-1 overtime decision at Arlington and coach Chad Wilson knew the possibility of a letdown was there.
“I thought we came out a little flat but credit MSJ. They came out with a lot of intensity and grit. Their coach had a good plan — a formation that put a lot of players on defense with just Cortland (Hussak) on top,” Wilson said.
It kept the Phantoms off the scoreboard for nearly four minutes but that’s about when the first corner paid off. Valerio hung it up in front of the goal and Conner McKearin knocked it in 3:46 into the game.
The Mounties tried to answer. Ethan Courcelle shot wide and Hussak over the bar.
Jed Nop cushioned the lead to 2-0 with 22:31 remaining in the half.
Valerio had a direct kick from 20 yards out and put a laser on goal but MSJ’s athletic keeper Peter Carlson made two great saves, one on the shot and another when a Phantom sent the rebound back at him.
The Phantoms got an own goal after another Valerio corner kick. Solomon Parker was credited with the score as the result of being closest to the ball.
Proctor’s Joel Denton rocked the post, but the next goal was scored by the Mounties. Freshman Jacob Woods got one past goalie Camden Richardson, a well placed, low crisp shot.
Richardson, normally a field player, was thrust into the goalie role by a hamstring injury to regular keeper Ian French. He was not tested a lot but late in the game when Chase Wiegers unloaded a hard shot on goal, Richardson caught the ball for his most difficult save of the day.
The Phantoms took a 5-1 lead to halftime after goals by Crossmon and McKearin. McKearin had the assist on Crossmon’s score.
McKearin’s goal had to be deflating for the Mounties because it came just 25 seconds before the half and grazed the bottom of the crossbar.
The only goal of the second half came after Valerio’s corner kick bounced around in the box. Bryson Bourne finished it off.
The victory hiked the Phantoms’ record to 9-0-1 but Crossmon said they aren’t allowing any thoughts of an unbeaten season to get in their head.
“We can’t be thinking about that,” said the junior forward. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves.”
The Mounties fell to 0-9-1.
“We are young. It’s not upsetting because it’s all about learning right now,” Souza said.
“We aren’t executing. I tell them that they do have it inside of them and now it’s up to them to unlock it.”
The stretch drive is here with the playoff pairings to be posted Oct. 21.
The Mounties and Phantoms are at opposite ends of the spectrum. but the final leg of the season has plenty of meaning for both — just in very different ways.