SPORTS >> Falcons kick it at meet of all-stars
Leader sports editor
IN SHORT: Michael Buzzitta and Rachel Hamilton represented North Pulaski at the all-star soccer game.
FAYETTEVILLE — Two North Pulaski Falcons made good showings for the East squad at the all-star soccer game Tuesday evening at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Michael Buzzitta and Rachel Hamilton were on hand for the festivities, and helped the East squad play a solid ball-control style.
Unfortunately for the boys, the quick-strike ability for the West squad got the left half of the state a 3-2 win in this year’s soccer match.
Hamilton was on the winning side in the girls’ match, as two goals in the last three minutes lifted the East to a 2-1 win.
The NPHS duo played well, even if things became uncomfortable at times.
Buzzitta was forced to play an unfamiliar position. He played most of the season as a mid-fielder or defender, but was asked to play forward for the East squad since he was one of only two players on the team that had any experience at the position.
“There weren’t any forwards on the team, and the coaches liked the way I played there, so that’s where they put me,” Buzzitta said. “I still had a good time. I went up there and gave it my all.”
The East boys dominated time of possession and shots on goal, but couldn’t score.
The West team was faster, and got loose for a breakaway goal to take a 1-0 lead into halftime. That lead stretched to 3-0 before the East scored two goals in the last few minutes to make it interesting at the end.
All Star players report to the UofA on Sunday, so the soccer teams had little time to prepare.
Buzzitta still felt he had a productive few days in Fayetteville.
“I learned a lot,” Buzzitta said. “We only got to practice three times, but the coaches were really good. It was fun playing with all the upper-level players in the state. It was a learning experience and I had a lot of fun.”
Hamilton turned in a solid performance, but would have liked a little more time on the hill.
“It went by so fast,” Hamilton said. “I wish we had at least one more day so I could get used to it. The level of play was very high. They had a lot more skills than most of the players in a regular high school game. Everybody was so talented.”
Hamilton felt a bit out of place. Her senior year was just her second to play soccer, while the other players on both teams have been playing competitively since grade school.
“It was actually a little intimidating,” Hamilton admitted. “They all knew each other and I didn’t know anyone, and they had all played for so long. It’s still an honor to be selected to play with those girls since I’ve only played for two years. It felt really good that I got to go.”