West Rutland’s Mason Galante’s maturation as a goalkeeper is on the fast track. The first-year goalie made a spectacular save that West Rutland assistant coach Matt Serrani labeled as “a game-saver” in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Mount St. Joseph in boys soccer action at Abatiell Field.
MSJ keeper Peter Carlson had just made his own highlight-reel stop at the other end with West Rutland leading 2-1.
Less than a minute later, Galante made his brilliant save to deny Ryan Laforest’s bid for the equalizer.
“I worked a lot in the summer, a lot on reactions. My coach Matt Serrani has helped me a lot,” Galante said.
Galante has grown with each game.
“I actually feel like I am helping the team more than hurting them now,” Galante said. “I feel so much more confident now. The nerves are gone.”
West Rutland had a great chance to get on top when it was awarded a penalty kick 15:30 before halftime. Tyler Serrani struck the ball well but Carlson did not have to move much to make the save.
“I thought that was going to give us the momentum,” MSJ coach Josh Souza said.
Maybe it did because MSJ did score first. Jacob Wood scored it on a header, finishing off a gorgeous ball from Michael Vitagliano.
The goal came with 3:48 left in the half and Souza would have loved to have gone to the break with the lead.
It didn’t happen.
West Rutland eighth grader Tristan Rocke scored his first varsity goal, beating the halftime buzzer by seconds. Mike Goodnough had the assist.
Carlson made another of his terrific saves and a wild scramble ensued in front of the goal with the ball loose. Rocke put it in the net but it still was unclear whether or not the ball had crossed the goal line in time.
After a short huddle by the officials, it was ruled a goal. The official said the ball had crossed the line with 2 seconds remaining.
The game-winner was an own goal but Tim Blanchard was most responsible for it.
“That was a great ball from Tim Blanchard,” Westside coach Dillon Zaengle said.
The goal came just 37 seconds into the second half.
Both teams mounted scoring threats, but the Golden Horde had more of them. Serrani, Mac Perry, Goodnough, Rocke and Kyle Frankenberg all tested Carlson.
Andre Prunty had a scoring bid very early for MSJ off a through ball from Vitagliano.
Prunty had another shot, a scorcher that knocked Galante back but the keeper held his line.
MSJ had another serious foray. Cristian Carranza did some hard work to get himself in a one-on-one situation with Galante, but got no more than a corner kick out of it.
The Green Wave’s biggest offensive weapon was Carlson’s booming punts which consistently went over the midfield stripe and sometimes covered three quarters of the field.
It gives MSJ plenty of bonus chances and Souza feels the Mounties need to start cashing in on on those.
The win gives the Horde the sweep of the season series. They defeated MSJ 8-5 back on Sept. 28 but Souza feels his team played a far better game this time.
Zaengle was disappointed in his team’s performance early.
“I don’t know if it was because it was a Saturday morning but we came out flat,” he said.
West Rutland hiked its record to 6-2 and the Mounties fell to 1-5.