By PAUL GOTHAM
HLTON, N.Y. — Jeremy DeKenipp took advantage of a last-minute spot in the starting lineup. Kyle Zumpano found redemption, and the Victor Blue Devils defeated the Hilton Cadets, 3-2 Friday night.
DeKenipp’s header in the 75th minute proved to be the game-winner as the Blue Devils avenged last week’s loss.
“This was a big game for us,” DeKenipp said. “They beat us on our home turf 4-1. To come back and win this is great.”
Trevor Clifton broke free on the right wing and got the ball to the touch line, before the senior attack lofted a cross into the six-yard box.
“I thought it was almost out,” DeKenipp explained. “I decided to just keep continuing my run. I saw him get that cross off, and saw it coming down from about 20 yards up. I just knew I was bury that in the goal.”
DeKenipp’s game-winner gave the Blue Devils their second straight victory.
“Trevor was being doubled all night over there,” Victor coach Steve Fish noted. “He found a way to finally get loose. When you put it into that dangerous zone good things happen.”
The goal was DeKenipp’s second on a night where a teammate’s injury prior to the game gave the junior midfielder a spot in the first 11.
“He stepped up huge,” Fish added. “He has played in that position this year, but the way he played tonight with that energy helped us tremendously.”
Zumpano turned in a 14-save performance including a half dozen point blank attempts from Hilton. For the senior keeper it was a chance to make amends for the earlier loss.
“It was almost embarrassing how I played last time,” Zumpano stated. “I’m proud of our effort.
“This game for me was redemption. It was fresh in my mind. I was going out there on the top of my game. I prepared mentally and physically all week. Got good sleep and I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t let my team down.”
Four of Zumpano’ s saves came in the closing moments of the first half including a spectacular leaping stab to touch Matt DeFeo’s blast over the cross bar.
“At that point I felt like we could win the game,” Zumpano said. “I was sure we would win that game. I think that was the point as a team where we realized we could actually do it.”
Early on, Hilton took the game to Victor controlling the ball for the better part of the match’s first ten minutes.
“They create so many chances with their passing in the middle of the box,” Fish said of Hilton. “It just wasn’t their night.”
Victor’s Josh Broyles found the back of the net in the 17th minute for an early Victor edge.
Nick Simone registered the equalizer with a header off DeFeo’s corner kick in the 45th minute.
DeKenipp capitalized on a give away in the box to give Victor the lead.
DeFeo leveled the match in the 49th minute. Michael Provost assisted on the play.
Simone and DeFeo both had late opportunities to score but were turned away by Zumpano.
Victor improved to 5-4/4-3 and hasn’t lost since the earlier setback to the Cadets.
“We had two goalkeeping errors in that game,” Fish said. “We had one defensive error. It was a much closer game than what what the score said. We weren’t in our own heads on that one. When we came we knew we just wanted to play hard and give them our best game.”
The loss snapped Hilton’s three-game winning streak, and the Cadets fell to 5-4, 3-3.
Hilton travels to Gates-Chili on Monday.
Victor hosts Gates-Chili next Thursday.