Grabiec’s two goals push Pacelli to first win of the season
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — A low-scoring affair led Pacelli boys soccer to their first win of the season, where they beat Newman Catholic, 2-0 at the Portage County Youth Soccer Complex on Aug 29. Junior Max Grabiec scored the two Cardinals goals of the night.
After a 6-0 shutout loss to Saint Mary Catholic on Aug 27, the Cardinals improved on both ends of the field to scrap out their first win of the year, and in shutout fashion. The game started with each side having a couple of chances at the net, but only one connected. Within the first 20 minutes, Grabiec collected a ball sent deep into Newman Catholic territory and beat the goalkeeper for a 1-0 advantage. The Cardinals held their own defensively in the first half. Pacelli had a step up on Newman Catholic, catching the eye of head coach Dayton Zander.
“The defense really changed from Saturday. It is kind of weird to say because there is only one day difference,” he said. “They really stepped up today, worked good on the counterattacks, and then I also liked the defense working their way up through the midfield for our own counterattacks, leading to Max’s goals.”
Zander also talked about his team fighting for 50-50 balls all game, winning most of them.
“We just have to take the momentum and definitely use it in the next games. Just be physical and do not back down from the ball,” he stated.
That is what Pacelli executed, taking a 1-0 lead into halftime. Coming out of the break, the Cardinals continued to be aggressive on offense and defense. Newman Catholic had a scoring opportunity in the 67th minute, but a nice save by Grant Hinker kept the shutout intact. Two minutes later, a nice run led to Pacelli’s second goal. Grabiec scored a second time.
“It was all the passing, they (his teammates) just sent it to me and I was faster than their defense today,” Grabiec said while explaining how he capitalized on his scoring chances. “It was all my teammates in the midfield giving me the ball. I was just outworking them, outrunning them, and getting the easy goal.”
The junior also said that getting runs and putting the ball deep in the opponent’s defense will be communicated in every game throughout the season.
“That is all I need. Just give me the runs and I’ll try my best to capitalize on every one,” he said.
Grabiec and the Cardinals will flip the page and play back-to-back games, hosting Nekoosa at the Portage County Youth Soccer Fields on Aug 30 at 7 p.m. If you have other local sports news or information, contact me at [email protected]. You can also follow me on Twitter at JacobHeid_15 for updates on sporting events.