Leading off today:
The game looked like a mismatch on paper. Having not been there to see it myself, I'd guess it looked even worse in person. Much worse.
Lyme defeated Sandy Creek/Pulaski 23-0 on Tuesday in a boys soccer game between Section 3 teams. The result improved Lyme to 5-1 with a 50-4 scoring margin and dropped Sandy Creek/Pulaski to an 0-6 record and 74 goals allowed for the season.
The carnage included 10 goals in the first 28 minutes by Slater Bushen, with the first three coming in the opening three minutes of the contest. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association lists the previous state record for goals by an individual as eight by Dennis Miles of Friendship in Section 5 in 1968.
"I never could have imagined breaking a state record, but it's a team effort," Bushen told Syracuse.com. "We have a lot of talented players and it wasn't just me to get to this state record. I appreciate everything that they've done for me."
Bushen scored 32 goals as a junior (after missing his sophomore year with an injury) and is up to 24 goals and 13 assists this season. Teammate Trevor Weston scored three goals Wednesday and 14 of the 15 players on Lyme's roster recorded at least one goal or assist.
The score was 16-0 at the half, and Lyme coach Scott Radley told The Daily Times he took steps to alter play, including instructing Bushen to not shoot on net after halftime.
"We were trying different things," Radley said. "We switched our offensive and defensive players around and I told them no contact or slide-tackling after halftime."
Some thoughts: It's a sure bet that the 23-0 game will make it onto national sports websites and a bunch of publications by the close of business Thursday. Suffice it to say some people are going to come out of it looking pretty bad.
No. 1 on the list of questions will be whether this game could have or should have been rescheduled as a scrimmage.
Spare me the "hindsight is 20-20" riposte because losses by scores of 11-0 (twice) and 13-0 already this season were indications that Sandy Creek/Pulaski was probably going to be badly overmatched against Lyme. Chalking this one up as a forfeit and running it as a scrimmage would have been no less useful in keeping Lyme tuned up while also keeping Sandy Creek/Pulaski on the field to work on skills.
What kind of other options did Lyme have? With a roster of 15 available players and no JV program from which it could make wholesale call-ups, the coaches were obviously limited -- though not so much so that Bushen couldn't be relegated to defense after his fifth goal.
"Solutions" such as telling players they could only shoot left-footed or via headers aren't much of a solution, almost as insulting to an overmatched team as goals 13 through 23 were Wednesday.
I can say this much: When I emailed a bunch of soccer coaches, league coordinators and sectional chairmen from around the state last night in an effort to confirm that the 10 goals set a state record, those who responded were unanimous in their condemnation of allowing a player to shoot often enough to score 10 goals -- never mind actually scoring that many.
Face it, this is a bad look for the sport -- and for all high school sports in general. It wasn't like the 30-0 game in Illinois in 1990 that the National Federation lists as the U.S. record, but I think we pretty stop trying to parse the various levels of "bad" once the score reaches 12-0.
Looking back: There was a 47-0 baseball game in Section 6 a couple of seasons ago. You might want to look back at my blog to see some interesting perspectives from the losing coach.
A more inspiring soccer story: Horace Greeley played Ossining in boys soccer. Here's the start of the game story from The Journal News:
"Everyone on the Horace Greeley campus rose to their feet in unison on Wednesday, joining each other in a round of applause that was intended to both mourn and heal.
"They clapped vigorously to honor the memory of Casey Taub, a beloved soccer player who tragically passed away on July 9 after a battle with glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer.
"The applause began at the 22-minute mark of the Quakers' home game against Ossining, commemorating the No. 22 which Taub wore on that very field. The crowd noise grew louder