KINGSTON — If anyone was wondering whether or not there would be scoring in Monday night’s Wyoming Valley Conference Coaches Senior Classic, it took little time to answer that question.
This was an all-star game featuring some of District 2’s top boys soccer players. Defense was thrown to the wayside as offense took center stage. The two teams — White and Kelly Green — combined for 14 goals — seven in the final 18 minutes — as White came out victorious, winning 8-6.
“Try not to be nervous. You realize it’s just an all-star game, but you want to try your hardest. Go out there and really have fun,” White goalkeeper Davis Weaver, of Wyoming Valley West, said. “I know I’m going to see shots, just go out and have fun. It’s the last game of my career.”
“It was a good experience,” White midfielder Charlie Keefer, of Valley West, added. “Good to see the people I have played with for a long time. It didn’t really count for much, but I’m still happy with what happened.”
It didn’t take long for the White team to get on the board, and once White scored it took a while for Kelly Green to slow them down.
Holy Redemeer’s Joshua Perta sent a perfect crosser to an open Nicholas Wnuk, who was standing in front of the goal. The Lake-Lehman star got the ball, turned and put his shot in the back of the net. White led 1-0 with 40 minutes and two seconds remaining in the first half.
Nanticoke’ Alessio Mazzalupi put Kelly Green in an even deeper hole less than five minutes later. Mazzalupi, standing from 20 yards out, drilled one past the keeper to make it a 2-0 game.
But the hits kept coming from the white squad.
Kyle Yusko and Charlie Keefer worked the Wyoming Valley West connection for the third goal, as Yusko sent a crosser to Keefer who sent his shot into the net with 9:05 remaining in the half, and then GAR’s T.J. Lavelle made it a four-goal game.
“I think it was really special,” Keefer said of his goal. “To be honest, I think it was the perfect connection for that moment. I wanted to go at the ball and I took it, and I know what I was going to do from there and it worked out.”
Just as things looked bleak for Kelly Green, Tunkhannock’s Stefano Sica scored his first of four goals.
Sica got took a pass from Wyoming Seminary’s Andrew Kim and took a desperation shot with less than 10 seconds on the clock before half.
“We never gave up until the end, and we tried to tie the game. It was difficult because we were losing by like four, three goals, but we tried,” Sica said. “It was an amazing night. I’m really happy to be here with all of these good players, and it’s a good opportunity to be seen and play a good game. I liked it. I really enjoyed it.”
The offense didn’t stop for either team over the final 45 minutes.
Nanticoke’s Brian Kotz put the white team back up by four when he capitalized on a pass from Lake-Lehman’s Ian Dawsey with 37:07 remaining in regulation.
But then Sica responded with a pair of goals to make it a 5-3 game with 17:36 left.
However, the scoring was far from over.
GAR’s Francisco Espinoza and Valley West’s Joyssen Gonzalez scored a pair or goals for White, making it 7-3 less than two minutes later. But Kelly Green responded again.
Crestwood’s Dylan Perrone and Wyoming Seminary’s Michael Kim put Kelly Green down just two goals with 3:28 left on the clock.
Mazzalupi then scored a critical goal to put White up 8-5 with just 1:36 remaining, because Sica went on to score 13 seconds later to put it back within two for Kelly Green.
When the final horn blew at Nesbitt Stadium it was a bittersweet moment for players on both teams.
Monday night was the last time this batch of seniors would play with some of their teammates. It was also the last opportunity to play against some of the rivals they had competed against throughout their careers.
“Yeah, I feel it’s kind of sad,” Andrew Kim said after the game. “Maybe I won’t play with any of these kids again. It was great to just have this one game get all of these kids together and play this one last game.”
WVC Coaches Boys Soccer Senior Classic
White 8, Kelly Green 6
First half — 1. WHI, Nicholas Wnuk (Joshua Perta), 40:22; 2. WHI, Alessio Mazzalupi, 35:54; 3. WHI, Charlie Keefer (Kyle Yusko), 9:05; 4. WHI, T.J. Lavelle, 3:20; 5. KG, Stefano Sica (Andrew Kim), 0:05. Second half — 6. WHI, Brian Kotz (Ian Dawsey), 37:07; 7. KG, Sica, 30:02; 8. KG, Sica (Andrew Kim), 17:36; 9. WHI, Francisco Espinoza, 16:29; 10. WHI, Joyssen Gonzalez (Emmanuel Edoukou), 15:55; 11. KG, Dylan Perrone, 6:55; 12. KG, Michael Kim, 3:28; 13. WHI, Mazzalupi (Dawsey), 1:36; 14. KG, Sica, 1:23.