The Wallkill boys’ soccer team continues to roll.
The Panthers won their seventh straight game to start the season on Thursday afternoon when they beat the Red Hook Raiders, 1-0, at Robinson Field.
Renzo Scanu was the difference for the Panthers, scoring the game’s lone goal in the 60th minute. He got past the defense after taking a pass from the midfield, touched the ball past Red Hook goalkeeper Austin Litton.
“He’s got a nose for the goal, for sure,” Wallkill coach Christopher Valencia said. “He’s got speed; he’s got power. He’s a very good player.”
That was all the Panthers needed as opportunities didn’t come easy for either team.
During the first half of play, Litton and his counterpart, Wallkill goalkeeper Anthony Annacone, only had to make one save each.
“There was not a clear stronger team in the beginning,” Valencia said. “But as we have been doing, we break them down, usually in the first half, and then the majority of our opportunities will come in the second half.”
That was the Panthers’ recipe for success the previous Saturday against the Pine Bush Bushmen, when the teams battled to a scoreless first half and then the Panthers scored all three of their goals in the second half.
The Panthers also beat the Marlboro Iron Dukes, 2-0, on September 20. Thursday’s shutout was their third straight. They’ve given up three goals in seven games and have registered five shutouts.
“I have very versatile players,” Valencia said. “I can put them in almost any positions. And they have something that a lot of teams don’t have coming into a season. They have a lot of chemistry. A lot of these players play together. They know each other very well. So, I can put them in different positions and they still know their movements on and off the ball, which is big.”
As the clock ticked down on Thursday’s game, the excitement amongst the Panthers grew as their seventh straight victory became official.
They’ve already swept through their first run in the Mid Hudson Athletic League Division I and they’ve beaten the first half of Division II. They continued their run through that division this week with a road game against the Rondout Valley Ganders and a home contest with Our Lady of Lourdes, in its first year in the MHAL and Section 9, before October brings them into their final stretch of MHAL Division I games.
Now, it’s up to the coach to rein in that excitement and channel it toward the end of the regular season.
“I think this team, out of any that I’ve ever coached, they really do love each other, which is big,”
Valencia said. “It makes my job a lot easier.”