An Independent Episcopal Day School for Ages 3 Through 12th Grade in Burlington, New Jersey

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Boys Soccer Highlighted as the Game of the Week

DOANE ACADEMY KNOCKS IN EIGHT GOALS IN A WIN OVER MORRISVILLE.


  • Photo courtesy of The Burlington County Times, Nancy Rokos: Nick St. Juste #10 and Levy Menjivar-Sanchez #24, celebrate after another great play, during the 8-4 victory over Morrisville


BURLINGTON — Nick St. Juste demonstrated where he’s improved. Two goals less than three minutes apart in the second half didn’t just serve to rescue Doane Academy from a slowly developing disaster, they served to demonstrate the accuracy of first-year coach Ryan Smales’ take on his game.

“He won’t mind me saying this,” Smales said. “I sometimes wish he was a little more effective off the ball than he was on the ball, but he, in all fairness, has improved that part of his game, even in the short time we’ve had together.”

Twice on Wednesday, he saw lackadaisical play in front of the Morrisville net. Twice he pounced on poor clearances and pumped them in, as the Spartans defeated Morrisville 8-4 in their nonleague boys soccer game.

The goals were the third and fourth of the game for St. Juste, who scored twice in the first half as Doane put together a 4-0 lead.

The first came after a sprint down the left side in pursuit of Jayson O’Connell’s long clearance. St. Juste overtook the ball just inside the 18, turned and fired a hard, low shot into the left side of the net. The other came after he ran onto Brian Pollard’s through ball, beat everyone down the middle of the pitch and side-footed his finish just inside the left post.

“Nick is a tremendous athlete,” Smales said. “He’s got that tremendous ability to change a game. His effect on the pitch and off the pitch is something we’ve very lucky to have. Great guy.”

The leadership part is something new for St. Juste, who already has nine goals this season, but it was part of his plan, coming into his final year at Doane.

“I needed to be a better leader, because I’m a senior now,” he said. “And I want to help my team, being in a comeback – changing the name of Doane soccer. It means playing hard, giving everything you’ve got, 110 percent, and just playing together as a family.”

Doane got an 18-yard chip from Warren Vanard into the left side of the net after just 75 seconds of play. Levy Menjivar-Sanchez scored the third goal on a penalty kick after he collided with Morrisville keeper Owen Sorrentino.

It looked like it was going to be easy. It wasn’t.

Jerry Kpehe scored for Morrisville on a second ball off a corner early in the second half. Luis Beletzuy made it 4-2 on a determined run through the midfield, and then 4-3 on a direct kick from 25 yards away.

“In the second half, it was a brand new team,” Morrisville coach Kelly Mott said. “The hustle was up, the intensity was up and they were believing in themselves. We just had minor breakdowns, and we only have a certain amount of players (they dressed 13), so players do get fatigued a little bit earlier, but each game, it’s progressing.”

Fatigue may have accounted for the bad clearance. The Bulldogs tried to go wide to the left flank after a Doane chance, St. Juste was lurking. He stole the clearance and put his shot across the front and into the far-side netting.

“I just told myself I can’t let my team lose,” he said. “We’ve been working hard, from not having good seasons at all to now having a winning season, we have to win this game. I just tried to get it on goal. Get a shot and get my team back.”

The fourth goal was similar, except St. Juste got to line it up. This time the bad touch came on the flank and he was the first to the ball in the middle. Then it was his turn to go top bins from 25 yards out.

“The goalie was trying to stay away and keep closer to where his defender was keeping me,” St. Juste said. “I just needed to turn around and shoot it right to the far side.”

It was over as a contest after that. Menjivar-Sanchez made it 7-3 with a curling strike from the right corner and O’Connell headed in Michael Weaver’s cross for the final goal.

Those two came sandwiched around another long-distance strike by the Bulldogs, who made it 7-4 when Dave Jn’Pierre’s restart from beyond the right corner of the box got just over Ryan Halasa and just inside the far post.

“We started really well,” Smales said. “We came out of the box fast, which was our objective, and it went well, but the second half, we just took our foot off the gas, and I was disappointed with that. But the boys know, and we’ll learn from that going forward.”