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Upper Perk Boys Soccer Survives Heat and Kutztown
2018-09-06

            The Upper Perkiomen boys soccer team battled through brutal heat and humidity to outlast Kutztown 3-2 in a friendly last Tuesday on the Tribe's hot turf field.

            Ian Costanzo, Cole Kendra and Tyler Raymond notched the goals as the

Upper Perk's Joseph McMichael gets a foot on the ball

as he challenges Kutztown's goalie in Tuesday aftern-

noons home opener.

Indians raced out to a 3-0 lead but had to fend off a late Kutztown rally.

            Costanzo got the scoring started in the 20th minute when he chased down a pass sent toward the goal by Kendra, took the ball off keeper Ethan Sanner's legs and deposited the ball into a wide open net.

            The senior captain took advantage of some sloppy play in Kutztown's end of the field.

            "They were shaky in the back, basically, all game, and I think it was like the second time I saw that the keeper was struggling distributing to the back, and I, basically, just ran right at him and forced him to make a mistake," Costanzo explained.

            That was the only goal of the first half with the play slowing to a crawl at times as overheated players struggled, even with the officials stopping play for a water break. Kutztown had only two subs at its disposal, and it caught up with them.

            Kendra was one of those players affected, pulling himself out of the game late in the half.

            "I was like so hot I felt cold," he said afterward.

            Overall, however, the Indians appeared to adapt to the heat.

            "I think last week was a nice primer for playing in this kind of humidity," coach Kyle Fisher related. "We had a couple of practices in that excessive heat. We got used to being on the turf field, and knowing what it feels like."

            Back on the turf to start the second half, Kendra took a pass from Joe McMichael, caught Sanner leaning and beat him with a low shot in the 44th minute.

            Costanzo and Kendra worked well together in the middle of the field and created many of the Tribe's scoring chances.

            "I like playing with him," Costanzo said after the game. "Out here, in high school ball, you have a lot of physicality, but if you don't have a mind for the game, you're missing a lot. He has that."

            Fourteen minutes after his goal, Kendra fed Tyler Raymond who finished off in front of the goal to make it 3-0.

            By the time the next water break stopped the game, Kutztown appeared all but done. However, the Cougars started applying high pressure and it paid off when Rece Austin pounced on a loose ball and rolled it into an empty net with 4:31 to play.

            Three minutes later, Alex Graff scored on a long shot past Upper Perk keeper Patrick McHale to cut the deficit to one.

            But Upper Perk (1-2) managed to run out the clock without any more difficulties to record its first win of the year and first over Kutztown in Fisher's tenure as coach.

            Fisher hopes the win is a turning point for his young squad, there are only four seniors,  and that the victory will lead to greater things.

            "I think we have a heck of a shot at making Districts this year, and it starts today because that's the kind of result that we needed to turn around. I expect to be competing in every game, looking to surprise some people in our division. I think the division is completely up for grabs."

            In the tough Frontier Division, the Tribe will do battle with the defending Pioneer Athletic Conference champions, Phoenixville, and 2017 District qualifiers Upper Merion, Pottsgrove and Pope John Paul, whom the Tribe opened league play against yesterday.


 

 

 

 

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