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The Battery Creek Dolphins got off to a bit of an inauspicious start in their Class 3A opening round playoff match against the homestanding Dreher Blue Devils on May 1.
A little over a minute into the contest, starting keeper Justice Cano stepped a foot outside the box to pick up a loose ball. In his defense, the sun was squarely in his eyes and a strong wind was blowing in his face when he made this error. Nevertheless, Cano was issued a yellow card forcing a backup into the match momentarily. Three minutes later, Dreher right back Aidan Vidal lofted a seemingly harmless ball from 30 yards out into the Battery Creek box. It bounced over the new keeper, into the sun and wind, and eventually into the net for a 1-0 Blue Devil lead.
“Goals are goals,” Dreher head coach Byron Quinatoa said with a smile on his face after the match. “I try to tell the boys stick to it. Finish until the whistle’s blown.”
His boys did just that scoring four more goals in the first half and one to start the second half to win 6-0.
Foster Fralick led the Blue Devils with a hat trick. The first of his three goals came in the 14th minute when he charged in from the left side and hit a right footer from ten yards out to the right corner. His second came four minutes later when he hit an absolute rocket from 30 yards out.
Dixon Acker gave Dreher a 4-0 lead in the 21st minute when he worked himself open for a shot from 10 yards out on the left side of the box and punched a right footer into the left corner.
Fralick then got his third and final goal after he was fouled in the box in the 39th minute. He converted the penalty kick finding that right corner once again for a 5-0 lead the Blue Devils took into halftime.
“He’s going to be very important throughout playoffs,” Quinatoa said of Fralick. “He’s such a top player. He got selected for the North/ South. Now you can see why. He’s going to create like that—not only him but Dixon ( Acker) and Reed ( Smith) and everyone else.”
And speaking of Smith, the Blue Devil midfielder raced down the center of the field in the 43rd minute against the wind and into the sun and ripped a left footer into the net for the 6-0 count.
As he did late in the first half and for a good portion of the second half, Quinatoa substituted liberally getting much of his roster on the field.
“It’s always tough, especially since there are a lot of seniors,” he said. “But I’m glad I got everyone in.”
Dreher finished with 19 shots to Battery Creek’s six. Keeper Connor Smith collected three saves for the Blue Devils. The starting backline of Vidal, Dominic Reiff, Matthew Bellon, and Ivan Diaz along with defensive midfielder Simon Quinatoa kept Smith clean for the most part.
Dreher is scheduled to host a second round match against Aynor Wednesday, May 3. Quinatoa did not know much about the Blue Jackets, who downed Camden 3-2 to advance, but the other team isn’t his priority.
“No matter what we’re going to stick to our plan—not going to really look at tape or anything— just stick to our plan and focus on us.”
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