PROSPECT PARK – Elijah Ema was quite clearly the story of Penn Wood’s 6-3 win over Interboro Thursday. After all, six-goal games don’t exactly grow on trees.
While the Penn Wood striker seemed to have an answer every time Interboro tried a comeback, that doesn’t diminish the fight shown by the Bucs in a match where they easily could’ve rolled over and died, especially given a 6-1 loss just over three hours ago.
“We were down 2-0, but we were discussing that we’ve got to stop letting the through balls go, because that’s what we were doing, and we can’t get down on ourselves,” junior forward Dominic Franchetti, who celebrated his birthday Thursday, said. “… We came back out, I believe we played stronger. It wasn’t our game to win though, but we fought them to the end. It was getting a little out of hand, but I think it was a great game.”
It started just two minutes into the second half, with substitute Roberto Sanchez providing a boost, starting the move that ended in Franchetti’s first goal off Fisher Sikorsky’s original shot to cut the deficit to 2-1. Sanchez created something from nothing in the 53rd, sneaking one by Chimanuka Kuderha to again cut the spread to one. And then Franchetti stepped to the penalty spot in the 58th minute, after getting stoned by Kuderha on a penalty in the first half, and coolly finished to restore a one-goal margin for the third time.
It was that trio – Sikorsky, Franchetti and Sanchez – that made the difference for the Bucs in the second half. Sanchez, prior to leaving with a knock, provided much needed width. Sikorsky did an excellent job shifting the balance of power in the midfield, and Franchetti was able to finish the chances that he got.
“Dominic had a great game even though he missed on penalty kick,” coach Nick Dostellio said of his captain. “The guys worked really hard up top, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. The score doesn’t show it, but they worked really hard.”
Dostellio singled out Franchetti for his performance Thursday, a continuation of his fine play all season.
“Dominic has been a guy who has stepped up as a leader for us this year,” Dostellio said. “It’s been something that I’ve been waiting for since he was a freshman to do. He’s been the backbone of the team all year. … Dominic has pretty much done from a leadership standpoint almost everything. Big change in him, and it’s been cool to see.”