Oct 16, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Through his remarkable tenure in the net for the Manlius-Pebble Hill boys soccer team, Dimitri Telonis has been glad to cede the spotlight to others.
But as more celebrated teammates moved on, Telonis has stuck around long enough to become the goalkeeper with the most shutouts in national high school history.
As if it were scripted, Telonis had a chance to set a new mark of 75 last Friday afternoon, when the Trojans hosted its biggest rival, Faith Heritage, with first place in the OHSL Patriot division at stake.
And in a festive Homecoming setting, the Trojans came through, beating the Saints 1-0 to put Telonis past Mike Gallagher, who set the original record of 74 at St. Louis Christian Brothers Academy in Missouri from 1994 to ’97.
Working with a strong wind behind him in the first half, Telonis mostly was a spectator as MPH controlled the ball and offered a variety of scoring opportunities without converting on any of them.
A couple of times, Faith made pushes to the Trojans’ net, but Telonis resisted, and the game went to halftime still 0-0.
Early in the second half, the Saints, having gained the wind advantage, pushed harder, and got a great chance when Mike Last lobbed one to the net. Telonis had to leap to tip the ball over the net, and out of danger.
In the 52nd minute, Telonis got the offensive help he needed. From 30 yards out, Naji Muakkassa lofted a shot that eluded Saints goalie Paul Jackson and found the net, giving MPH the lead.
For the rest of the game, Faith had its share of chances, but Telonis would build his save total to nine, and as time ran out, players and fans mobbed him as he became the national shutout leader.
Of course, a goalie never works alone, and Telonis has enjoyed the good fortune of working with an illustrious group of teammates and fellow defenders that have taken the pressure off him with their ball control and goal-scoring ability.
Still, someone has to be in the net, and with his consistency, athletic ability and leadership on the field, Telonis has earned the respect of teammates and foes alike.
Before the showdown with Faith, the Trojans took care of one of its neighbors last Tuesday when it dismissed Bishop Grimes 2-0 on the day Telonis tied the shutout record.
Though MPH’s attack was sluggish at times, Joe Vella and Dennis Smalley still found time and space to get some goals. Dan McGowan and Burt Schaber earned assists.
Now with all the hype about the record out of the way, MPH could turn its attention to a week of games with Fabius-Pompey and Cato-Meridian, and the Section III Class c playoffs that follow.