By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
CATAWISSA -- It wasn't exactly what Shikellamy coach Jon Steese had called for, but he gladly accepted the result.
With just over 3 minutes left on the clock, Braves junior captain Drayton Laverio stood ready for his free kick and saw something in the Southern Columbia defense that he liked. That's when he booted it deep.
He couldn't have executed it any better. The ball floated right to Anthony Velasquez, who jumped over a defender and headed a perfect pass toward the far post of the goal from the top corner of the goal area.
The ball got past a diving Tyler Tomaschik in goal, but, more importantly, it all but put the game away with 3:01 to play.
The score gave Shikellamy a 2-0 shutout win over Southern Columbia in a HAC crossover match Saturday morning in Catawissa.
"We've been working on our set plays the last couple weeks. We've been pushing to be successful with them," Steese said. "I put a lot of faith in our captains. He (Laverio) saw it and Anthony always seems to get his head on something. He's awesome out of the air."
Velasquez was key all morning for the Braves (1-0), as he helped create the first goal to put Shikellamy on the board against the Tigers (0-1).
Dribbling down the right side of the pitch, Velasquez quickly passed across the field to freshman Dylan Snyder, who connected just outside of the goal area to the opposite post to break open the scoreless game with 22:11 in the first half to play.
Southern Columbia -- coming off a 10-9-1 season last year -- couldn't get opportunities to score against a very solid Shikellamy defense. The Tigers had 11 shots on the day, but only three were solid looks at the goal.