By Stephan Sookram in Barbados(compliments of Jiffy Lubes, Rent-a-Tent, A&R Jiwanram, Hand-in-Hand, John Fernandes Limited, Best Buy Auto)ELLIOT and Matthew Vieira ruled the super stock class of the recently concluded Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championships in Barbados.Starting on pole in the first super stock race, Elliot got off to a bad start, allowing Canada-based Barbadian representative Kevin Graham to take the lead. He retained the lead two laps after capitalising on a minor error by his opponent.However, during that battle, Stephen Vieira, who had failed to qualify earlier, made his way from the back of the pack and took advantage of both Elliot and Graham to slide by into first place.Stephen finished the race in first place but was disqualified by race officials for passing under a yellow flag – a flag which he and other riders say they had not seen but was on track, according to said officials, thus gifting Elliot the win, his cousin Matthew second and Graham third.Race two saw Stephen again at the back of the pack, riding his way up the standings before he fell on the first corner, giving Elliot his second win of the day, Matthew second and Barbados Terrance Ollivierre third.The last super stock event of the day, however, saw Stephen’s bad weekend continue with him falling again, at the same corner on lap two while one lap later, Elliot ended up in the same corner at the exact same spot.However, Matthew was able to maintain his composure throughout the race, navigating the later part of the race with relative ease to take the chequered flag and his third podium of the day.On the car end of things, Shan Sejattan’s weekend was up and down with him not being allowed out in the first Group two race after being adjudged by race officials to have arrived at the pit exit late. Marc Gill (Trinidad), Kenrick Husbands (Barbados) and Mark Thompson (Barbados) were the top finishers.He opted to run his car in the Group three class alongside Nazim Gafoor and finished fifth on the grid, Paul Vieira (Trinidad), Ronald Wortman (Trinidad) and Steve King (Barbados) finishing in the top three spots.On the second Group two outing, Shan finished a modest fourth behind Thompson, Gill and Husbands in that order. The final Group two race of the day, however, saw car troubles plague his Honda Civic with him only completing three laps.Meanwhile in Group three race one, Nazim Gafoor finished sixth on the grid before upping his performance to finish third in the second race behind Kurt Thompson and Paul Vieira respectively.The final race saw a recurring gearbox problem put him out with just four of the six scheduled laps completed.Gafoor also took his car to the Group four two-wheel drive class where he finished fifth in the first and second races.The team returned home yesterday.
It’s not that Syracuse’s forwards didn’t want to shoot, they just couldn’t find the space.If an Orange player was anywhere near striking distance, three Hartwick defenders crowded around him. The crowd begged for a shot, but there was no space for SU to operate in the attacking third. As each hollow opportunity passed, a tactical adjustment became increasingly inevitable.But when head coach Ian McIntyre stood in front of his team after a scoreless first half, a tactical adjustment wasn’t on his mind. Instead, he urged his team to speed up its play and seize the opportunity to entertain the home crowd.“He said we had to impose ourselves, because this is our home field,” said junior midfielder Nick Perea. “We had to play faster because that’s our game.”And that’s exactly what the Orange did.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn the heels of a sloppy first half, an increase in energy was what No. 20 Syracuse (2-0-0) needed to edge Hartwick (0-1-1) 2-0 at SU Soccer Stadium on Monday night. In its first home game of the season, the Orange looked slow and, at times, confused in the early going. But once SU found its speedy identity, the Hawks simply couldn’t keep up.“We started slow, we were definitely sluggish,” McIntyre said. “We had a lot of possession, but didn’t create enough quality chances. When we broke their initial line of pressure, we started to look good and get those opportunities.”The Orange’s abundance of first-half possessions was mired by Hartwick’s swarming defense.In the 20th minute, SU slowed down play considerably. Sophomore Stefanos Stamoulacatos, freshman Alex Halis and junior Jordan Murrell played tic-tac-toe on the left side of the field while the Hawks’ defense sat in an impenetrable pyramid.At a distance, the Orange’s quick passing was pleasing to the eye. But when any player attempted to dribble toward the box, the once distinguishable pyramid turned into an amoeba around the ball.“That was because we were playing slower and building through the back,” said junior forward Grant Chong. “They definitely pressured us, which we expected, we just had to break in and I think we did successfully.”It was Chong, in the 50th minute, who took SU out of its slow start and onto the scoreboard. He settled a lob pass from Halis, took two dribbles and unleashed a rocket into the top-right corner.Hartwick goalie Mateo Munarriz made a leaping effort, but it was placed too perfectly. Chong threw his hands into the air and his teammates quickly mobbed him at the top of the Hawks’ box.That was all Syracuse needed to catapult itself into a more comfortable, effective philosophy.“In the second half, it was about keeping the tempo high,” McIntyre said. “Getting that first goal, and then eventually the second, helped us do that.”As the game wore on, SU didn’t possess the ball as methodically as it did in the first half. But the possessions it did have were more purposeful, as evidenced by the game’s decisive goals.Nine minutes after Chong gave the Orange the lead, Perea pushed the lead to 2-0. Once the Orange earned a throw-in in the attacking third, Murrell scanned the field for a target.With most of Hartwick’s players casually walking with their heads down, Perea stepped into open space and Murrell put the ball at his feet. It was the space that wasn’t there in the first half, when the Hawks subjected the Orange to its smothering brand of soccer.Perea’s shot deflected off of a cluster of defenders and found the back of the net.The Orange relished in the few moments when Hartwick’s defense wasn’t set, and a few moments was all it needed.Said Perea: “The second half was the way we should have played all along. We had a slow start, but it all came together when it needed to.” Comments Published on September 3, 2013 at 12:09 am Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+