Arts & Business scores first win over Van Buren, 1-0

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Keith Horan is not worried about wins or losses. Instead, the first-year Arts & Business girls’ soccer coach’s main concern is the steady improvement of his team, a young group of girls who are still trying to learn the sport.

Over the last five games, Horan has seen that improvement. And finally, on Monday at Van Buren, he saw a win as the Bulls defeated the VeeBees, 1-0, avenging Van Buren’s lone win by the same score Friday.

“They’re really kind of clicking together,” Horan said. “Through my eyes, they’ve come along greatly. They’re playing like a team now.”

Leading that group on the field is do-it-all junior Fallon Plazas. While she is busy barking out instructions and words of encouragement on the field, Plazas also led by example against Van Buren (1-9-1 Queens III), scoring the lone goal in the 25th minute.

Plazas stepped to take a free kick 22 yards out and she remembered some sound advice her father gave her before she struck the ball.

“He told me to always aim for the corners, don’t just shoot it down the middle,” she said.

Plazas heeded Dad’s words of wisdom and beat Van Buren keeper Fabiola Sibaja low inside the near post to put Arts & Business (1-10-1 Queens III) ahead, 1-0.

“If I’m close to the goal, I always try to score,” said Plazas, who has been playing soccer for three years, giving her the most experience on the team. “Sometimes it might not work, sometimes I may fall down but if I’m near the big box, I’m going to try and score.”

Added Horan: “She’s a very developed player. Either she or Jennisha Cross usually takes our kicks. She’s a real asset. She knows and thinks the game.”

The VeeBees, who are also a very young and inexperienced squad, had a great chance to tie the game with five minutes left in regulation, but Raquel Tol’s corner kick bounced off the football crossbar — which is out of play — before Marilyn Bran put the ball into the net.

“I thought we played a nice, decent game,” said Van Buren coach Greg Fishman. “We played a more skillful game than them but we just didn’t get the scoring opportunities. It happens, but we’re improving.”

One of the highlights for Van Buren was the play of senior stopper Rachel Klutse, who at 5-foot-10 1/2 was the most imposing player on the field. Whenever the Bulls had an odd-man break up field or appeared to have a clear shot at goal, Klutse, who is also on the Van Buren volleyball team, booted the ball back up field and out of trouble.

“We’re coming along slowly, but we’re coming along,” she said. “We’re communicating more, working more together. We had a lot of the problems in the beginning, but things are working out now.”

Bryant 3, Richmond Hill 1. Diana Botero, Dina Vaselica and Vivian Andino scored for the Owls (12-1-1, 10-1 Queens II).

Jamaica 3, Lane 0. Kimone McLaughlin, Blanca Chimbay and Ana Morel scored a goal apiece for the Beavers (8-4, 7-4 Queens III).

Francis Lewis 1, Bayside 0. Caroline Verna scored the game’s lone goal 30 seconds into the game for Lewis (6-6 Queens I). Bayside dropped to 8-3-1.

Newtown 5, Far Rockaway 0. Alba Carrasquero and Andrea Rodriguez scored two goals apiece and Jessica Velez added one goal for the Pioneers (10-1, 10-0 Queens II).

John Adams 2, Forest Hills 1. Maura Torres scored two goals and Denis Austin made 14 saves for the Spartans (6-9, 4-7 Queens II).

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Updated 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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