The 2018 NPSL season opener between West Chester United and Hershey FC almost didn’t happen. Storms were forecast in advance but a twist was thrown in when a tornado watch was issued. Fortunately, no tornadoes occurred, but lightning delayed the game for about an hour.
West Chester was on the front foot early, probing the Hershey “D” for an opening and in the 13th minute, Travis Cantrell opened his account with a little help from a well-placed ball from Kyle Hoops. With rain pouring from almost the opening whistle, a few strikes of lightning in the distance prompted the game officials to halt the match. Fans, players and officials retreated for shelter for almost 60 minutes before the game resumed.
West Chester picked up where it left off and grabbed a 42nd minute goal from Lafayette University’s Evan Vare.
On the goal, Vare said, “I made a run to the corner through the channel, and took my first touch towards goal along the end line. I could see the defender was coming in super aggressive so I pulled it back while he ran by, then slotted it back post.”
Vare struck again five minutes into the second half when West Chester scored what could be the goal of the week. Vare got on the end of a long ball from Miguel Ross and sent a looping shot over the Hershey keeper.
Vare said, “I ran onto it to put pressure on the ball. It was bouncing and I realized I could get to it so I bodied the defender off the ball. At this point, the goalie came out, too and the other defender came to help. The ball was bouncing pretty high so when I saw them out I was facing the sideline but side-volleyed it over all three.”
Vare completed his Man of the Match performance adding an assist on an 86th minute goal from Miguel Ross, who dribbled the keeper.
Coach Blaise Santangelo said, “After committing to a formation on Friday, I changed my mind overnight. We wanted to be aggressive from the start but haven’t had a lot of time together so I took a more conservative approach. The team adapted quickly. It was like we practiced all week like this.”
Vare credited the team’s effort for his performance.
“I thought the team came out strong and was hungry to get the year started off the right way. Having two goals and an assist is nice, but I thought everyone on the team played well and did their part. This allowed us to break down their system and put goals in the back of the net.”
Contributor: Vince D’Ambrosio/West Chester United
Photo Credit: Vince D’Ambrosio/West Chester United