Mountaineers leave Spellman with a tie
For a few hours on a brisk Monday afternoon, Jamaica took over the Cardinal Spellman soccer field.
Pilots midfielder Malik Cameron was the Jamaican star everyone had their eyes on coming in, but by the end of the game, it was Mountaineers freshman Anton Porter, who also has roots on the small island, that would really turn some heads.
The freshman, who played a pivotal role throughout, was Mount's biggest difference maker. His presence played a big factor in the Mountaineers 2-2 tie with Spellman in a rematch of last year's CHSAA Class A intersectional semifinal match.
Mount coach Mike Boyle didn't know anthing about Porter until the budding star's mother walked up to him at practice, asking if her son can join the team. Boyle wanted to know what position he played.
"She said, 'I don't know much about soccer, but he scores a lot of goals,'" Boyle said. "I said, 'tell him to show up tomorrow!' Lo and behold, the kid's a star."
After a little jostling and some outstanding early shots on goal, the first score of the game arrived in the fourth minute off the leg of striker Marco Tutino with an assist from Tonin Tonas.
Defending CHSAA 'A' champion Cardinal Spellman (0-0-1) controlled the ball deftly for much of the first half, actively putting pressure on the Mountaineers (0-1-1) with a barrage of near misses. The momentum swung in Mount's favor in the 26th minute on an impressive goal from Porter.
Once the young star created space to run on the sideline, there was no stopping him.
"He's got the most speed in the league and on an open field, I don't think anyone is going to catch up to him," Boyle said. "He's that good."
While Cameron displayed some impressive footwork early on, he couldn't get things going because of a nagging quad injury and defense that was obviously keyed into stopping him.
The Pilots made a concerted effort to get Cameron involved early in the second half, but by that point, his rhythm seemed slightly off leading to him briefly being subbed out.
Meanwhile, Porter continued to dominate, heading in a goal that was called back for offsides. He finished the day with a score and recorded three shots on goal.
Mount's second goal came in the 62nd minute after one of Porter's shots was snatched by goalkeeper Adam Biolsi. The ball squirted loose and Fabian Leon pounced, scoring on a floater from 30 yards out.
"It was a great goal," Boyle said. "He actually scored a goal like that two years ago in a playoff game against Spellman as a sophomore. He's our heart and soul and he brings a lot of skills to the table. I figured [Spellman] coach [Tom] Cabrera would start keying on Anton and once you did that it would open things up for Fabian."
The saving grace for Spellman came in the 77th minute when Mountaineers goalkeeper Timothy McDermott was called for a yellow card for taking down Pilots midfielder Bobby Biolsi, (Adam's brother).
With McDermott momentarily on the sideline because of the caution, Julian Atenga stepped into the net for the penalty kick. However, Biolsi knocked it in, tying the score.
Porter arrived in the U.S. only months before enrolling at Mount St. Michael and is still adjusting to life in The Bronx. But on the soccer field, he plays like a seasoned vet.
"I'm not familiar with the surroundings yet and everything here is so new to me," said Porter in his thick Jamaican accent, "but once I have soccer… I'm good."
He is good, and to think he almost landed at Spellman,
"I wanted to come to Spellman, but I registered too late. So my mother took me to an all-boys school because that's what I was familiar with in Jamaica," Porter said. "But now that I'm on the team, I'm very glad that we made the decision to come to Mount."