Kings of the mountain: Lions romp S. Vermont

The Lions wasted no time getting on the board when junior midfielder Ryan Poliseno headed home a nice cross from senior Co-Captain Cody Schram just two minutes into the game.,The men’s soccer team overcame a sluggish first half to pound Southern Vermont College 8-0 last Saturday at Rotch Playground, improving the team’s record to 8-3-1 on the season.

The Lions wasted no time getting on the board when junior midfielder Ryan Poliseno headed home a nice cross from senior Co-Captain Cody Schram just two minutes into the game. However, that marked the only time the Lions were able to capitalize on numerous first-half scoring chances.

“Very frustrating,” said Head Coach Jared Scarpaci of the first half. “You’ve got to finish opportunities. That’s what this game is about.”

The Lions generated constant pressure with their speed up front and precision passing but found the back of the net to be as difficult to come by as an A-Rod clutch hit in October.

As the missed opportunities mounted, so did tempers.

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Twenty-five minutes into the half, the first of two Southern Vermont yellow cards were issued after a vicious mid-field collision. The physical play continued as the Lions spent the rest of the half pounding away at the Southern Vermont defense to no avail and took their 1-0 lead into the second half.

The slim margin didn’t seem to sit well with senior captains Schram and Brad Fyffe, as they dominated play early in the second half and set the tone for what would be an overwhelming second-half performance.

“We had a talk at halftime,” said Scarpaci. “We told them they needed to step up and lead the team and they really did. They were outstanding.”

Schram lead the charge, scoring on a rocket from just inside the penalty box just over 40 minutes into the match, giving the Lions a 2-0 lead. Southern Vermont responded by moving their defense up in an attempt to slow the Lions’ attack by drawing them offside. The only thing that was slowed was the inevitable, as the Lions remained aggressive and eventually cashed in again.

With 14 minutes left, sophomore Michael Bianco, who had entered the game as a substitute, took a nice feed from junior Emil Toolanen and moved down the right side before drilling one into the upper-righthand corner for the first of his three goals, giving the Lions a 3-0 lead and some long-overdue breathing room.

Four minutes later, senior Vinny Sant’Anna headed home the first of his three goals to make it 4-0 and the rout was on.

Sant’Anna’s goal caused the Lions sideline to erupt.

“Vinny’s sort of a crowd favorite. He’s a senior and he works real hard. It was great to see him get those goals,” Scarpaci said.

“I was really happy with all of our guys coming off the bench. The subs were the difference. Our starters were frustrated and couldn’t put some of the missed opportunities behind them. Our subs came in with a clean slate mentally and really made the difference.”

Sant’Anna and Bianco handled the rest of the scoring as they each pocketed two more goals to complete their respective hat tricks and close the book on a dominant second half.

The 8-0 final could have been worse for Southern Vermont if the Lions had put together a first half that rivaled the second.

“The second half should’ve been the first half,” Scarpaci said. “But I am happy with the end result.”