Whitney tops Lincoln 2-0 in PVL boys soccer opener

By: Russ Edmondson The News Messenger
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Whitney High’s varsity boys soccer team won 2-0 at Lincoln on Wednesday night in the Pioneer Valley League opener for both teams. The Wildcats are now 3-2-1 overall while the Zebras are 0-7. Whitney junior TJ Papenfuss scored on an assist from Alex Donofrio to break a scoreless tie in the 75th minute. Senior teammate Jordan Gibbs scored an unassisted goal, off a steal, about four minutes later. Whitney also had three goals disallowed earlier in the match, two for being off sides and the other for having a player enter the 18-yard box during a penalty kick. “It was back and forth and we just couldn’t get our offense clicking,” said Javier Banuelos, who has coached Lincoln for 10 years. “We are slowly learning offensively. We have a lot of new faces and getting the system down is taking a long time.” Whitney coach Rich Donofrio liked how his team responded to the goals not being allowed. “They work hard and that game was a testament to their work ethic,” he said. “They were frustrated having three goals called back but we just kept working.” Lincoln was hit hard by a large graduating class last season. “This is the longest (it has taken get that first win or tie), it’s the first time that it’s almost completely a whole new team,” Banuelos said. “Usually half of the team is returning and the other half is new but this year (because of a huge graduating class) there are so many new players that have come up to join the team.” Whitney returns to the field on Monday when it will host El Dorado at 3:30 p.m. in a league match. “We had a really challenging preseason, we played some really good teams, but it’s relatively a new group,” Donofrio said. “We only have five seniors (returning from last year) so we’ve had some boys move up from JV and some transfer in and we are not really used to playing together. We still have a ways to go from what I see and what I want to see.” The transfers are Alex Donofrio from Del Oro (Rich Donofrio’s son), Gabriel Fletcher from northeast California and Brian Ramanis from Lincoln. Lincoln is off until next Wednesday when it will play at Bear River at 3:30 p.m. in a league match. “We are really not worn out or tired, just a lot of mental mistakes is our big problem,” Banuelos said. “A lot of mental mistakes and not being in the right place at the right time.” Lincoln sophomore goalie Manny Vazquez and junior sweeper Raymond Parker have been solid for the Zebras so far. “Manny has been doing a great job and has had to step up as the youngest guy on the field,” Banuelos said. “He made a lot of great saves (against Whitney). And Raymond Parker has been controlling the whole back for us.”