Council Rock South hoping Dawicki, middle infield continues to ignite offense

NORTHAMPTON – Council Rock South is having a hard time finishing on offense thus far this season. In three games, the Golden Hawks have tallied just a pair of goals.

Both came in Wednesday’s afternoon’s home affair Sept. 9 against Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference rival Harry S Truman. Still, it was enough to upend the Tigers, who dropped to 0-2 with a 2-1 loss to Rock South.

Both the Hawks’ goals – one in each half – came off the foot of junior  Mike Dawicki, who would have had at least a hat trick if not for the goalkeeping heroics of HST senior Fernando Mendez.

Mendez must have knocked away at least 20 shots including a barrage of them that came at him in the last 10 minutes of the contest.

Truman – which remains winless at 0-2 – scored a goal about a minute after Dawicki registered his second, then didn’t come close to the CR South net for the remainder of the game. The Tigers’ only tally in the game came off the foot of sophomore Badr Fask on a feed from senior Angel Rodriguez.

“I thought we possessed the ball well and attacked as a unit really well,” said Hawks head coach Alan Nicholl. “Our shape was good; that’s why we were able to generate the kind of offense that we did.

“But obviously, the finishing touch has to be there. There’s not much point in stringing 12 to 15 passes together if you don’t do something productive at the end of it.”

Back on the field after a 6-11 campaign in 2014, the Hawks return to the pitch with a veteran lineup that includes eight seniors and 12 juniors.

One of those 11th-graders is goalkeeper Nate Zajdowicz, who is in for the departed Chase Spinelli. Another is Dawicki, who broke a scoreless tie with his first strike in the 38th minute of play.

“I thought he looked terrific,” said Nicholl, of Dawicki. “He’s technically very, very good. He’s dangerous because he’s got two very good feet. He scored one today with his left; he scored another with his right.

“That troubles defenders when you have a player who can go both ways.”

Dawicki wasn’t the only center-midfielder giving the Tigers fits in this game. Senior Dylan Schwartz was also a problem all game long for the Truman defense.

“Dylan is very good on the ball. He’s a little unpredictable and he’s a little unorthodox so he keeps defenses guessing, explained Nicholl.

“He’s strong and he moves really well; he’s very agile. He uses that to his advantage.

“He’s deceptively skillful and he’s very, very quick And he’s physically well-built.

“He likes contact and he likes getting stuck in but he’s also very good in space.

“When he uses all those attributes, he’s very hard to defend.

“He gives defenses fits because they never know what to expect from him.”

Senior Brent Weinstein and sophomore Connor Nelms are also strong at the center-mid position for South.

“I think a lot of our attack comes from the midfield,” stated Nicholl. “I think we’re particularly strong there. We possess the ball really well and the idea is to make sure we invite the midfield to the party.”

Playing up top this season for the Hawks are sophomore Pat Wilczynski, a JV player in 2014. Joining him is junior Kevin Bowers, a swing player last season who did not play vs. Truman.

Senior Kevin Sweeney is another player South relies on for offense.

“He’s another guy up top who brings really good energy. He’s really quick; he’s really industrious,” stated Nicholl. “He just does a lot of work. He’s very disruptive for defenses; he doesn’t allow you time to settle the ball.

“He’s a really hard worker. As a result, he creates turnovers and he creates panic for other teams.”

Anchoring the defense is senior Sam Epstein, a returning center-backfielder for the Hawks. Joining him is sophomore Nicky Santos, who started in the backfield last year as a freshman. Junior Zach Keane and senior Liam Kane round out the CR South defense.

“Liam has good size and steady feet,” said Nicholl. “He’s pretty solid, likes contact – the kind of stuff you look for in a defenseman.”

The Hawks haven’t made districts in two years and with that said, everyone associated with the program is aiming high.

“They know that’s the goal – to make the playoffs,” said Nicholl. “There’s no question about that; the playoffs are like a new season.”

“You get in there and you up the ante and you never know what can happen. You catch a hot streak and you never know so making playoffs is always a priority.”

To get there, South is going to need players like Dawicki to light up the scoreboard. The Hawks didn’t reach the back of the net in a pair of season-opening losses to non-league rivals Conestoga (3-0) and Hatboro-Horsham (1-0).

Yesterday’s effort against Truman was a step in the right direction.

Council Rock South 2, Truman 1

(Sept. 9 at CR South)

CR SOUTH 1 1 – 2

TRUMAN 0 1 – 1

GOALS: CRS – Mike Dawicki 2; T – Badr Fask

ASSISTS: CRS – Pat Wilczynski; T – Angel Rodriguez

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