Soccer Notebook: Week 8

By Alex Frazier

Meet…Rick Domico
Neshaminy’s Rick Domico gets his kicks in different ways.
Sometimes it’s scoring goals on the soccer field.
Sometimes it’s booting extra points on the gridiron.
And sometimes it’s just hanging out with his friends.
Domico played jayvee soccer as a sophomore. Coach Rich Reice subbed him in as a junior until he reshuffled his lineup and Domico became a regular, notching nine goals and six assists.
“He became that complementary forward to Dan Foley,” said Reice. “He works real hard and has that nose-for-the-goal mentality that you like to see.”
The highlight of his junior year was scoring the game-winning goal against Pennsbury that sent the Redskins to the state playoffs.
“He’s a very athletic kid and quick,” said Reice.
This year Domico has scored 12 goals and seven assists.
“He’s definitely our go-to guy,” said Reice. “He accepts that responsibility and embraces it.”
Domico isn’t an official captain, but Reice acknowledges that “he’s another captain on the field for us.”
“He’s a very vocal player at practice,” he said. “He’s very passionate about the team and really wants the team to do well. The kids really respect him and look up to him.”
Domico has even taken a young Liberian player under his wing.
“He’s a very coachable kid and is constantly asking me what he needs to work on,” said Reice.
Domico started playing soccer when he was three. He played midfield for the Langhorne Strikers but was moved to forward, where he has remained.
“I never could get back and mark,” he said. “I always wanted to score, so they put me up top.”
Most recently he played for the Yardley Morrisville Soccer Club. When that folded two years ago, Domico didn’t pick up another club team.
“I went to Danubia, and they didn’t win a game so I wasn’t getting any recognition there so I left,” he said.
It’s a decision he’s beginning to regret.
“That’s killing me with the college thing,” he said.
In seventh grade he quit soccer to play football.
“My friends were doing it and I thought it would be cool,” he said. “I didn’t play much, but they needed a kicker so I practiced that.”
He gave up football and went back to soccer in eighth grade, but in ninth he decided to try kicking again for the football team and still play soccer.
He became the starting kicker in 10th grade but a case of strep throat weakened him, and Seth Jeffries took over the job for the rest of that year as well as last year.
Domico finally got his start this season.
He is 1-for-2 in field goals with a 35-yarder against Abington and has missed just three extra points. His two extra points were the difference in Neshaminy’s huge 14-13 win over Council Rock North on Saturday.
Although he went to several football-kicking camps, Domico hopes to be playing Division One soccer next year. Colgate is currently showing interest and Temple is another possibility. He wants to major in sports medicine or sports management.
“Definitely something in sports,” he said.
“The physical tools he brings and (the fact that) he really loves soccer and loves playing, he’ll be successful at the next level,” said Reice.
Congratulations conference champions –
Where did the season go?
It was one of the most interesting campaigns in recent years, especially in the Continental Conference, where the league lead fluctuated sometimes daily.
In the National Conference, Pennsbury and Council Rock North battled it out for supremacy, but Council Rock South’s early run, and William Tennent and Neshaminy’s late surge made for an exciting finale, at least for third, fourth and fifth.
Wissahickon sewed up the American Conference early, but again the battles for second, third and fourth were enticing as Upper Moreland and Plymouth Whitemarsh tried to unseat Cheltenham in second place.
Congratulations National Conference champion Pennsbury, Continental Conference champ Souderton and American Conference titlist Wissahickon. Below is a season summary for each team.
Pennsbury – After a three-year hiatus from coaching, Tom Stoddart took over the reins of a vaunted program that has been solid for years.
For many it would be a daunting job.
“I don’t know about pressure,” said Stoddard. “I like to look at it as an opportunity to work with a great bunch of guys. They work so hard for the coaching staff and each other.”
Stoddard thinks that hard work and incredible talent will carry the Falcons to district and state titles.
After losing to Council Rock North in the first league game of the year, the Falcons returned the favor in the second meeting of the teams.
“There’s no doubt about it,” said Stoddard. “That was a huge pivotal match, points-wise and confidence-wise.”
And then when North tied a pair of games, Pennsbury was assured an outright title by winning out.
“To be able to go through our league with only one loss is an unbelievable accomplishment, one I’m going to let the boys celebrate until Monday at 3 o’clock, and then we’re going to forget about because we have to move on,” said Stoddart.
The coach also pointed out that the team not only works hard in games but also stays focused in training sessions.
Talent is a given on this team.
The Falcons have two dangerous forwards in Eddie Adams and Corte Rumph, who also doubles as kicker on the football team.
“Eddie Adams is always there for us and was always able to do something for us when we needed him,” said Stoddart.
Like when he scored the game winner against Rock North in overtime and the game winner against Neshaminy.
And with Rumph up front, opposing defenses can’t key just on Adams.
“Corte constantly wears defenses down,” said Stoddart.
He is also dangerous with his long throw.
The midfield equivalent to those two is Mike Mulcahy and Jimmy Ockford.
“Mulcahy is one of our quietest, best players,” said Stoddart. “He always knows what he needs to do out there, and Jimmy covers so much ground in the middle of the field for us.”
In the back, ironically, it’s two defenders—goalie Drew Hutchins in goal and left back Brian Powers —who get the offense started.
Stoddart says that Powers is like a quarterback.
“If it’s not coming through him, it’s coming through our goalkeeper,” he said. “He not only doesn’t give up goals, but he creates offensive opportunities for us on a nightly basis.”
The Falcons are soaring into the post-season hoping to alight on the PIAA summit Nov. 21.
Pennsbury: 2009 by the Numbers:
Top scorers: Eddie Adams (16 goals), Corte Rumph (12 goals)
Top Assists: Brian Powers (13), Rumph (9), Kyle MacDonald (9)
Goalie saves/shutouts: Drew Hutchins 11 shutouts, Evan Kastenakes 1
Team goals for/against: 56/8
Overall/league records: 17-1/13-1
Souderton – Sept. 23 was the Day of Infamy for the Souderton Indians. That was the day Central Bucks South rocked them 6-0.
After two humiliating years of losing seasons, this was the year coach Tom Quintois thought his team would break through.
“We felt like at that point things were broken and we changed our lineup a lot and we became more athletic defensively,” he said,
As it developed, the loss to the Titans was a turning point.
It could have derailed the team entirely. But instead of stewing on the loss, the Indians came out in their next game and beat defending champion C.B. East.
“We felt that the East game was a must-win for us,” said Quintois. “We left practice with a real good game plan and with a mentality that we had to win the game. To beat East was a big hurdle for us (after losing two 2-1 overtime games last year).”
“We’ve overcome a lot from the last two years,” said Quintois. “We’ve been building toward this year. The kids responded and took our challenge.”
A big key to the season was camaraderie.
“We’re not the best team in the world individually,” said Quintois, “but we are a true team. We play hard together. Guys on this team are real good friends. The fact we are a team is probably our greatest strength.”
Quintois also admitted that some of this year’s success was luck.
“A couple of times the ball bounced our way and we were fortunate,” he said.
Several key players that have contributed to the Indians title are goalie Dave Giannini, junior forward Christian Benner, Kyle Nelson and center mid A.J. Androkites, who had several game winning goals.
“He’s a ball winner, he’s our captain,” said Quintois of Androkites. “He’s a vocal guy and has stepped up into a leadership role.”
Giannini and the defense recorded 12 shutouts. The Souderton keeper is only a sophomore, but he is big and athletic.
“Our goalkeeping has been unbelievable,” said Quintois. “Everybody has a big thrower and is dangerous on restarts and he thrives on that stuff. He can move people. When he gets in there and mixes it up, it’s like having another defender in the box. He’s good with his feet, he’s communicating and his confidence is really high.”
Souderton: 2009 by the Numbers
Top scorers: Christian Benner (9 goals), Kyle Nelson (6 goals)
Top Assists: Nelson (7 assists)
Goalie saves/shutouts: Dave Giannini 12 shutouts
Team goals for/against: 28/15
Overall/league records: 12-2-3/10-1-3
Wissahickon – Stuart Malcolm wasn’t sure what to expect from his squad this year. He was wary of Cheltenham, Plymouth Whitemarsh and Upper Dublin.
But four or five games into the season, the Trojans navigated around their first roadblock, and Malcolm felt confident his team could win its first championship in four years.
When Wissahickon faced off against Cheltenham on Sept. 25, the Panthers had just one loss; nevertheless, the Trojans cruised past them 3-0.
“It was an indication that things would work out well for us in the league,” said Malcolm.
Two games later, the Trojans faced an Upper Moreland squad that had also lost only once. No problem. The Trojans blasted the Golden Bears, 5-0.
And they went on to defeat every team in the conference.
“Before the season started I was thinking PW, Upper Dublin and Cheltenham would all be right there,” said Malcolm. “To beat all three of those teams home and away was not something I expected to happen.”
Malcolm’s only regret this season was a 2-0 non-league loss to Central Bucks East when he was missing a couple of starters.
“There were a lot of positives to take out of that game,” he said.
The key to the Trojans’ season lies in the backfield unit of Oluwole Amudipe, Joe Farrell, Carl Greenley, Dan Matthews and keeper Christian Knittel.
“They’ve been a big contribution with regards to keeping the score down,” said Malcolm. “We don’t give up many opportunities. They’re stopping them 30-40 yards out and giving possession back to us. It will be a strength we’ll lean on a little bit more as we get into next week.”
In addition to a strong defense, the Trojans had a wealth of players who could score, preventing opposing teams from marking out one go-to player.
“We have four or five players who have contributed five or six goals,” said Malcolm. “Hopefully it will bode well for when the tough games come around.”
Having eight seniors, not all of whom played 80 minutes, also helped with leadership and focusing the younger players.
Wissahickon: 2009 by the Numbers
Top scorers: Kevin Matthews 11, Sepp Dasbach 11, Kevin Hammond 5, Shane Ziegler 5, Stefan Dasbach 5
Top Assists: N/A
Goalie saves/shutouts: Christian Knittel, Erik Riefenstahl 9
Team goals for/against: 55/13
Overall/league records: 14-3/14-0
Around the league – It took until the very last day of league play to determine a champion in the Continental Conference. Souderton clinched a tie with Central Bucks East Monday when they defeated Pennridge 1-0 on A.J. Androkites’ goal in the 25th minute.
That meant a tie or win against winless Quakertown Wednesday would give them the title outright. Almost a no brainer, but stranger things have happened.
But it was not to be.
The Indians blanked Quakertown 4-0. Christian Benner scored three goals and Alex Muir netted the other. Dave Giannini earned his 12th shutout of the year.
A tie against Wissahickon Friday made Souderton 10-1-3 in the league and 12-2-4 overall.
Pennridge continued its erratic play, defeating North Penn 2-1 and then falling to Hatboro-Horsham, 2-1 on Hatter goals by Scott Horner and Derek Newsome.
Cheltenham helped solidify its grasp on second place in the American with a 1-0 win over Plymouth Whitemarsh Monday. The Panthers notched an impressive non-league win over Central Bucks West, 3-1, Friday.
Wissahickon also made a statement with a 1-1 tie Friday at Souderton.
In a mild upset in the National Conference, Neshaminy defeated William Tennent, 2-1, last Friday to put the Redskins in contention for a playoff spot. Tennent then turned around and thrashed Council Rock South 5-2.
Abington gave Council Rock North a good game before falling 3-2.
In the final battle of the Rocks, North defeated South 2-0.
After starting the year 2-5, Neshaminy came on strong in the second half by going 4-1-2.
SOL Top Five
1.   Pennsbury
2.   Council Rock North
3.   Souderton
4.   William Tennent
5.   Central Bucks East
Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association Poll (Through 10/19)
1. Pennsbury. . . 14-1-0
2. Father Judge. . . 13-1-1
3. Strath Haven. . . 12-1-3
4. Council Rock North. . . 12-1-2
5. Lower Merion. . . 15-2-0
6. La Salle. . . 11-2-1
7. Unionville. . . 14-3-0
8. Downingtown West. . . 12-1-4
9. Souderton. . . 10-2-3
10. North Catholic. . . 10-3-1
11. Conestoga . . . 12-3-1
12. Upper Darby. . . 10-2-2
13. Christopher Dock. . . 12-3-1
14. Archbishop Wood. . . 13-1-0
15. Octorara. . . 111-3-1
16. Central Bucks East. . . 10-5-0
17. Germantown Academy. . . 7-5-1
18. Wissahickon. . . 12-3-0
19. St. Joseph's Prep. . . 7-4-2
20. Downingtown East. . . 12-4-1
Others receiving votes (in order): West Chester Rustin, North Penn, Pottsgrove, West Chester Henderson, Archbishop Ryan, Lincoln, Bartram, Malvern Prep, Haveford School, Shipley, Pennridge, William Tennent, Great Valley.
(Week of Oct. 18)
1. Parkland (11) previous rank 1
2. Pennsbury (1) 2
3. Manheim Township (3) 3
4. Council Rock North (1) 4
5. Upper St. Clair (7) 5
6. Mt. Lebanon (7) 7
7. Fox Chapel (7) 8
8. Strath Haven (1) 9
9. Central Dauphin (3) 10
10. Unionville (1) 6
Honorable Mention: Conestoga (1), Delaware Valley (2), Father Judge (12), Germantown Academy (1), Hershey (3), Lower Merion (1), Manheim Central (3), Peters Township (7).
NSCAA National Rankings Region III Rankings
(Oct. 20)
1. The Pingry School (Martinsville, N.J.) 12 - 0 - 0  
2. Parkland (Allentown, Pa.) 17 - 0 - 0  
3. Pennsbury (Fairless Hills, Pa.) 14 - 1 - 0  
4. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 10 - 0 - 0  
5. Manheim Township (Lancaster, Pa.) 15 - 1 - 0  
6. Scotch Plains (N.J.) 12 - 1 - 1  
7. Council Rock North (Newtown, Pa.) 12 - 1 - 1  
8. Rancocas Valley (Mt. Holly, N.J.) 10 - 2 - 1  
9. Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 14 - 2 - 1  
10. St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) 10 - 1 - 0  
11. Mount Lebanon (Pittsburgh, Pa.)              15 - 1 - 1  
12. Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.) 12 - 0 - 0  
13. Fox Chapel (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 16 - 0 - 1  
14. Delbarton (Morristown, N.J.) 9 - 2 - 1  
15. Strath Haven (Wallingford, Pa.) 11 - 1 - 3