by Tom Utescher

PHOTO CAPTION – Norwood’s Joey Devine (left) brings the ball upfield, pursued by Matt Bown of Springfield Chestnut Hill Academy.
(Photo by Tom Utescher)

Coming into last Thursday’s local soccer square-off at the Water Tower Recreation Center, host Norwood Fontbonne Academy was undefeated and the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy boys middle school varsity team was winless.
It was only the second official game of the season for both the NFA Bears and the SCH Blue Devils, and both teams left the Water Tower with 1-1 records following a 5-1 victory for the visitors.
At the beginning of the week Springside Chestnut Hill had launched its season with a 7-2 loss at Shipley School, where Mike Buck scored a goal in real-time play for the Devils and also converted a penalty kick. On Wednesday, Norwood was also on the road, notching a 5-0 win at Nazareth Academy, a fellow member of the Catholic Academies League. There, Max Mocharnuk rang up a hat trick for the local booters, and the other two goals came from Joey Devine and Phil Burkhardt (who is only a sixth grader).
In Thursday’s local encounter Owen Williamson played most of the game in goal for Norwood, and Will Adler came in for the final four minutes. SCH split time in the cage between Joe Conlin and David Brenman.
Williamson had a busy afternoon, seeing a lot of pressure from the Blue Devils. Fortunately for Norwood, the visitors were called offsides on their first three rushes at the Bears’ den, but they eventually got on the board with 10-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first half, when Jack Lamb dribbled up the left wing and fired a successful outside shot.
More SCH markers were not long in coming. Griffin Glendinning scored from near the left post a little over a minute later, netting what would prove to be the game-winning goal.
In Norwood’s league the many of the teams play co-ed line-ups, and while only boys started in Thursday’s match, Nora Kenney subbed in near the end of the first half.
With under six minutes to go in the opening round, Buck raised Springside Chestnut Hill’s lead to 3-0, bagging his third goal of the week. Not long after that, Lamb took a corner kick from the left side, and the ball bounced back out to him off of a defender. He lined up a shot from a tough angle along the endline and made good on the attempt, putting the Devils up 4-0.
Norwood was able to snap the shutout before halftime, though. The Bears brought the ball through traffic up the middle of the field, and the charge culminated in a goal by Joey Devine with two minutes left to play in the first period.
The score remained 4-1 until the middle of the second half, when Jan Alex stuffed in the rebound of a teammate’s shot for SCH’s fifth and final goal of the day. Norwood’s Williamson made several difficult saves after that to keep the Blue Devils from adding to their total.