MANCHESTER -- The Vermont Voltage soccer team took a bit of a break from its tough Premier Development League schedule on Wednesday night to face a team with some familiar faces to local soccer fans.
The Voltage played the Southern Vermont All-Stars, led by Burr and Burton Academy boys soccer assistant coach Brenton Pinkus, and the Voltage won 3-0 on a clear night at Applejack Field in Manchester.
"It’s not easy," said Pinkus. "We throw it together and play with college guys and older guys. The first [goal was] a penalty, one decent goal. 2-0 is [more] a true reflection [of the game]."
It was slow going in the first 20 minutes, with neither team getting any solid chances -- in fact, neither team had a shot on goal until the 13th minute.
After a handful of substitutes came in for both sides, the Voltage started to take some control on the offensive third of the pitch. That aggressiveness paid off, on a run into the box, All-Stars defender Reid Conde committed a somewhat light foul in the penalty area, which resulted in a penalty shot.
Voltage leading scorer Adrian Saldana, calmly sent the boot past All-Stars goalie Keady Segel in the 35th minute to give the Voltage an advantage.
"I thought it was soft, they ran into each other, shoulder to shoulder," Pinkus said. "Even the ref said that. I didn’t think it was a penalty, it killed the [momentum in the first] half."
Voltage player/coach Bo Vuckovic said the Voltage dominated in the first half.
"We got a lead 2-0, they had more possession in the second, but we changed to more counter attack in the second half," Vuckovic said.
That change allowed newcomer Nick Jackson to make runs into the 18-yard box. In the 57th minute, Jackson took advantage, maneuvering past a defender and slipping a shot past Segel near post to double the lead.
After that, the Voltage attack was relentless. Vuckovic nearly made it 3-0 in the 72nd minute with a blast from 20 yards out that nailed the crossbar.
The All-Stars best chance came at the end of regular time, when Brandon Jackson fired a shot over Voltage goalie Pierre Massena’s head.
In stoppage time, the Voltage fought valiently for a third goal. A counter-attack from the All-Stars was snuffed out, sending the Voltage back in their offensive side. In the ensuing flurry, the All-Stars made two saves but couldn’t stop the third shot, this one from David Itoafa, for the final margin.
Massena saved five shots for the shutout.
"A shutout is a shutout," Vuckovic said. "Not much to do in the first half, but more in the second half, stopping crosses. A very good job."
Wednesday’s game was the seventh all-time between the teams. BBA alumni including Reid Conde and Liam Kelleher played as well.
"It’s great to have local guys," Pinkus said. "Both of those guys are playing in college, so it’s great experience to have for the next level."