Jenks boys overcome Portsmouth

Jenks boys overcome Portsmouth

PAWTUCKET - In their toughest battle yet, the Jenks Middle School soccer team reversed their fortunes from a season ago and survived a 1-0 victory over Portsmouth Tuesday, to give Portsmouth its first loss.

With the win, the Jaguars took sole possession of first place and remained undefeated while Portsmouth fell to second with one loss. Last season, Portsmouth was the only division team to beat Jenks, and they did it twice.

"It was a tough game," Jenks head coach Carlos Vieira said. "They (Portsmouth) have a good team too. We could have scored three to four more goals but that happens in soccer. I used one sub to keep the club in check."

Portsmouth took both games against Jenks last season but the Jaguars were prepared for the battle this time around. They also had home-field advantage. With two undefeated teams, the duel intensified as the game went on with no score. Both teams had chances to score but each of their defenses and goalkeepers kept that from happening.

"I want to mention the great play of 7th-grade goalie, Jason DeAmaral, who played with a bad stomach and shut out the undefeated Portsmouth team," Jenks assistant coach Harris Nachbar said.

As the second half opened up they were still locked in a scoreless tie. Jenks got a penalty kick that came from Cesar Franco but the Portsmouth goalkeeper handled it just fine. Portsmouth brought the ball back down to Jenks' side where Joe Breen took a shot an on open net, but the ball sailed by the goal.

The Jaguars took over as the ball was kicked up to Curtis Brown. He went to Amadou Jallow and as Jallow was swallowed up by defenders, Brown regained possession. With two on him, Brown got rid of the ball and Devon Silva attempted to head it into the net but it went over the goal.

The Jaguars had another good opportunity to break out but Brown kicked the ball into the side of the net. They got a corner shot taken by Lyelson Miranda to no avail as Portsmouth took the ball away from Joselito Rodrigues.

The Jaguars kept the pressure on Portsmouth and eventually were successful. Brown and Miranda passed back and forth by the Portsmouth goal before it was kicked out by their opponent giving them a corner kick. This time Andrew Mendes took the corner shot and Miranda was in perfect position to follow through and kicked it in the net by the Portsmouth goalie.

"Lyelson has played a really good position in right forward," Nachbar said. "He has a good shot and passes well."

The Jenks boys were quickly reminded to play like it still was a scoreless game so as to not make any mistakes.

They were still able to fire off more shots on goal but could not get it by the goalie again. Breen also put more shots on goal for Portsmouth as the last five minutes of play were stressful for Jenks' fans.

"They did play well as a team," Vieira said.

DeAmaral was perfect in net for Jenks as Portsmouth tried desperately to tie the game. John Stack took a few shots at DeAmaral that were blocked or caught.

Silva was eventually able to steal the ball away from Breen but a foul was called on Franco. Portsmouth took a corner shot that went wide as the whistle sounded to end the game, giving Jenks the 1-0 victory.

"This was a good game to figure out how much better we need to get because Portsmouth is a playoff team," Nachbar said. "It could have gone either way. They're (Portsmouth) a solid organization."

The Jaguars quickly faced their next test, an actual road game.

So far they have had one "away" game against Goff Middle School but both schools play at the same complex.

On Thursday the Jaguars played at Thompson, let in three goals, but still took the 6-3 victory.