CLUBS got a pre-season look at their opposition on the weekend with the Korumburra Cup.
The exciting games got underway on Saturday morning with the juniors.
On Sunday the seniors took over the pitch with the Men and Women playing round robin matches.
Despite some teams lacking numbers due to the school holidays, games were competitive and played in good spirit – a trait the Korumburra Cup and South Division more generally fosters.
Leongatha struggled against Drouin’s strong backline in the Under 13s – a consistent goal-keeper Imogen Cooper the telling difference as the game progressed.
Drouin scored first through Lachlan Beer from a corner.
Leongatha fought back, Rory Hanks providing some of the best chances with some shots well outside the box but his kick didn’t have the carry required.
Drouin’s Henry Grant was working hard through the midfield directing play, linking up well with Sylvia Cooper on the right wing.
Imogen Cooper continued to perform well through the first half, getting lots of support and encouragement from her teammates.
At half time, Drouin led 1-0.
In the second half Leongatha changed its goal keeper, taking Evie Bath, an integral part of the backline into goals.
At the restart, Drouin came out fast and in the confusion, a back pass saw the ball stumble over the line.
Try as they might, Leongatha couldn’t peg back the lead and Drouin slotted one more home to win the cup.
In a display of excellent team spirit, Korumburra reduced its numbers on the pitch in order to equal Leongatha’s team sheet.
The seven-a-side match still had all the excitement of a full game and high scores to boot.
Leongatha’s Sam Bainbridge was a stand-out player along with Jordan Rintoule (who was called up for Senior Women’s duties the next day).
Goals were scored by Leongatha’s Ali Lanacanari (4), Curtis Rintoule (1) and Sam Bainbridge (1).
City fed the ball well consistently for Harry McNeil to finish off all seven goals.
Zeth, Austin and Novena were solid in defence, while Peter Veltri didn’t stop running all day.
Korumburra was also boosted by Under 14 players Joey McNeil and Riley Olden who performed well in goals for a half each.
Kathy Zacharopoulos has already put her name down as one of South Division’s leading goal scorers with an excellent display at the Korumburra Cup.
She followed up on lots of shots on goal and her excellent passes provided some great opportunities.
Her first goal came from a toe-poke after some confusion in the goal square – it wasn’t pretty but it worked.
At the first half, Leongatha was up 2-0.
Phillip Island came out strong in the second.
Kelly Wall was leading some impressive breakaways and Taylah Cook had some cracking shots that were batted away by Leongatha’s strong keeper Reen O’Connor.
Phillip Island scored a great goal through LJ Gorse – the free kick just outside the box seemed to float through the air as Leongatha appeared too weary to stop it.
Zacharopoulos lifted again with another goal – she took the pass from Mimmie Ng on the right wing, spun on one foot, balanced and slotted it through.
Phillip Island kept battling but couldn’t break through the experienced defence of Kim Kirkus, Pauline Graewe and Jordan Rintoule.
Drouin’s signature style of coming out hard and fast paid off during the men’s grand final.
Caleb Hotchkin, dangerously given some space, ran on to the ball and his rocket of a shot couldn’t be stopped – and that was only a few minutes into the game.
Shocked into action, Inverloch settled to play its possession-style game.
Inverloch shot through some beautiful long balls, but having played many high-intensity games earlier, it was a tactic that backfired as the team tired.
A free kick in the box for a handball gave Gene Parini the chance to put Inverloch on the scoreboard, and he was right on target – the shot going in the bottom right hand corner.
At half time the scores were locked at 1-1.
In the second half, Inverloch’s 22 was putting in some great crosses and 49 was rallying the backline.
A free kick to Drouin’s 19 was perfectly weighted and floated over the keeper’s head to bounce into goal.
Drouin was full of voice and intensity, continually peppering the goal square and testing Inverloch’s new keeper.
Inverloch rallied and pulling back the midfield steadied the attempts on goal, but it left limited chances up forward and Inverloch couldn’t capitalise on its chances.
Final score: 2-1.
2016 Soccer Preview in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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