Boys soccer: Smith Vocational takes down PVCICS, 4-1 (PHOTOS)

  • Smith Vocational freshman Cameron Ball celebrates a goal against PVCICS at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational’s Cameron Ball, left, and PVCICS’ Clayton English battle for the ball in the box at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • PVCICS’ Teddy English controls a header against Smith Vocational at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational’s Roscoe Palmer, third from left, watches his strike sail into the goal against PVat the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI—

  • PVCICS’ Nolan Gage, left, and Smith Vocational’s Evan Latour battle for the ball at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • PVCICS’ Clayotn English, eleft, directs a header against Smith Vocational at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • PVCICS’ Clayton English, left, battles for the ball against Smith Vocational’s Jack Corey and Heisen Diaz-Lopez at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational’s Patrick Gougeon, left, Roscoe Palmer, center, and Cameron Ball celebrate a goal against PVCICS at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational’s Patrick Gougeon controls a header at Smith Vocationl at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • PVCICS coach Mike Locher directs his tema at halftime at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Smith Vocational coach Ryan Della Penna, right, directs his team with Vikings junior Lucas Gagliardi team at the Young Men's Club of Hadley field Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 9/21/2022 7:54:25 PM
Modified: 9/21/2022 7:53:46 PM

HADLEY – Three of Smith Vocational’s four goals came in the first half of its Wednesday game against PVCICS – though if you ask Vikings’ player Cameron Ball, he thought his team’s second half was the better one. 

“I think our first half wasn't very good. But we definitely came back in our second half and we were passing a lot better than our first half,” Ball said.

Ball’s passes looked pretty strong in the first half as well, in particular a give-and-go play between he and Rosco Palmer that ended with Ball tucking the ball in the back of the net, his second goal of the game. 

Smith Voc’s offense kept firing, finishing with a 4-1 win over PVCICS to extend its win streak to three games and bump its record to 3-2 on the season. After two losses to Franklin Tech and Ware to start the season, the Vikings have bounced back in their more recent contests. 

“Our talking has become a lot better, our movement, our spacing. We've come a long way,” Cameron Ball said.

Though PVCICS had its moments of possession, including a couple of strong shots that went wide or over the crossbar, Smith Voc drove the majority of the play during most of the game. That effort didn’t go unnoticed by first-year head coach Ryan Della Penna.

“I liked that they were fighting for the ball this time. They were running through the ball, they were attacking the ball, they're winning the 50-50s,” Della Penna said. “It just came down to who wanted the ball more.”

Palmer figured into all four of Smith Voc’s goals, scoring twice and assisting on both of Ball’s goals. The Dragons snapped the Vikings’ shutout streak in the 73rd minute with a goal from Teddy Scott. 

Young, scrappy and hungry

The Dragons are a team of youngsters this season – there are no seniors on this year’s roster and just two juniors, Owen Tuttle and Clayton English. As a result, this is more of a learning year for PVCICS as the team focuses on fundamentals and rebuilding from the senior class that left last year.

“We have a young team, we have no seniors. We graduated eight seniors last year,” PVCICS coach Mike Locher said. “So that's kind of been our story all year long, we're just not as big, not as strong, not as athletic. I think that was the case today.”

Besides Tuttle and English, the Dragons will rely on brothers Teddy and James Scott, both tenth-graders, as the team’s core as they continue the season. 

“I think a lot of them played decently, but we're gonna have to up our game a little bit to compete with a lot of the teams in the league,” Locher said.

New coach on the block

While PVCICS is welcoming a number of younger and newer players to its team, Smith Voc brought in a new head coach this season in Della Penna. A Suffield, Conn. native, Della Penna played collegiately at Westfield State University and coached at both the New England Revolution Academy and served as an assistant at Westfield State before taking the head coaching job, his first, with the Vikings. 

“It has a big learning curve – especially with the assistant job over at Westfield State, I was just in the back and I was assisting the head coach. When I actually had to take up the head coaching position, I was like, ‘OK, what do I exactly do here?’” Della Penna said. “I’m loving it so far.” 

It’s a big difference for Della Penna going from working in college to the high school level. Not everyone on his team is a year-round soccer player, and some are newer to the game than others. Fundamentals are key – after their win against PVCICS, Della Penna ran the Vikings through a throw-in drill because during the game, they gave away the ball a number of times due to incorrect throw-in technique.

“I realized here it's more just about work ethic. So that was something big that I had to teach them,” Della Penna said. “Whoever wants the ball more in this game is going to win the game. If we work harder than the other team, then we're going to win.” 


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