PITTSFORD — There was target practice going on Thursday at the firing range and across the road at Taranovich Field, where Proctor unloaded on Mid-Vermont Christian during a 4-1 boys soccer victory that was not nearly that close.
There was a much closer game in Quechee earlier this year when the Eagles held down Proctor to a 4-2 result and the Phantoms were determined not to see a repeat.
“We just didn’t get off the bus. We didn’t have a lot of energy,” said Proctor midfielder Conner McKearin after he scored a hat trick Thursday.
“We just walked around, and that’s what happens. We’ve had a couple games this year where we came out flat and that can’t happen.”
There was never any doubt in the rematch. Unbeaten Proctor kept slipping serves into the penalty area from the wings and on its 12 corner kicks, and kept the pressure throughout most of the game’s 80 minutes. And Proctor defenders Solomon Parker, Logan Starling and Joe Valerio kept the Eagles far from the Phantom goal except for a few isolated instances.
Were it not for the diving efforts of VMC goalie Stan Nelson, it might have been an 8-1 game at least. The Eagles senior had 13 saves, many of them highlight reel material.
“Give their goalie credit,” said Phantoms coach Chad Wilson. “He made some tremendous plays.”
He had to with Proctor pressure keeping the Eagles defense in the shadow of its goal much of the afternoon.
Proctor keepers Camden Richardson and Parker, who took over after the break, combined for just one save.
McKearin popped the scoring cork just 6:54 into play with a blast from 22 yards and pushed the lead to 2-0 in the 17th minute with a grounder into the left side of the nets.
Though overmatched, Mid-Vermont took advantage of a defensive breakdown when a long kick was sent back to Richardson by the Phantoms defense; the ball’s pace allowed Will Scalese time to swoop in and gather the ball and feed Joel Roberts for a grounder to the right of the keeper.
But the Phantoms regained a two-goal edge before the half as Joel Denton, who made some nice runs down the right side, scored from in close.
McKearin made it 4-1 early in the second half off a nice cross from Brennon Crossmon.
In the moments that followed, the Phantoms bunched four corners and had plenty of other opportunities, but were just off frame or denied by the athletic Nelson.
Mid-Vermont fell to 3-7 while Proctor will take a 9-0-1 record into Saturday’s homecoming game against visiting West Rutland.
The teams played to a scoreless deadlock earlier this year.
“It’s going to be a very exciting, entertaining cross-county rivalry game,” Wilson said.
NOTES: With Wilson a little late arriving to the game, Proctor Athletic Director Jake Eaton started the day as Phantoms coach and handed over a lead when Wilson arrived. Eaton then took up ball boy duties. ... West Rutland was 5-4-2 going into Thursday’s play. ... Diminutive Proctor sophomore Treyton Kimball got his first varsity start on Thursday. ... Mid-Vermont did not manage to earn a corner kick. ... McKearin was asked after the game how many goals he’s scored this year and could not come up with an answer.