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Event Spotlight:
Last Minute Heroics Propel KiXX 7-6 Win

Sunday, February 23, 2003

By David W. Unkle
SJSports Staff Writer

The Philadelphia KiXX , not known for their strong starts, held true to form, played catch-up soccer most of the game but it was Don D’Ambra’s follow-up on a Goran Vasic shot with 10.5 seconds left that made the difference as the KiXX dropped the Harrisburg Heat 7-6.

After losing their last two games on the road and being out-scored 34-28 in the process, the Philadelphia KiXX welcomed their return home where they have been unbeatable since last season.

We lost two games on the road last weekend and right now we’re not in rhythm, said KiXX Head Coach Don D’Ambra. We were trying to find ourselves the whole game.

After spotting Harrisburg a 4-0 lead on first quarter goals by Ze Roberto and Chris Mormon the KiXX came back in the second quarter to tie it up but lost MISL All-Star forward and their leading scorer Joel Shanker in the process.

Pat Morris put Philadelphia on the board at 3:01 of the second quarter with the Heat’s Genoni Martinez in the box for pushing, with his 14th 2PG of the season on the re-start from Goran Vasic.

Midway through the quarter, Shanker got tied up in front of the Harrisburg goal with Heat defenseman Neil Gilbert and left the game with an injury to his left ankle and would not return to the game.

Vasic gave Philadelphia their first lead of the afternoon with a 3PG just outside the top of the arc. For Vasic it was only his second 3PG of the year and his 11th of the season.

Philadelphia wanted to add to their season-long dominance of their opponents in the second quarter and Harrisburg appeared ripe for the picking.

Prior to this afternoon’s game, the KiXX have outscored their opponents 99-45 while the Heat have been outscored 105-78.

Harrisburg’s Kevin Burk’s header over goalkeeper Peter Pappas with just under two minutes to go in the first half put the visitors back on top and setting the stage for the upset. Heat goalkeeper Chris Damico started the play with a perfect toss to Burk who strategically positioned himself to the right of Pappas.

Neither team scored in the third quarter with both goalkeepers keeping the score 6-5.

Chris Handsor put the potential game-winner on Vasic’s foot with Damico out of position but the KiXX couldn’t convert and looked ready to lose at home for the first time this season.

With the sixth attacker on and 10.5 seconds to go, Vasic’ shot off of the glass rebounded out to Don D’Ambra who one-timed it past Damico for the 7-6 lead and the win.

We had no timeouts left and luckily they hit the ball out of bounds with ten seconds left, said D’Ambra. We told Goran to put it off the glass and we were going to have three guys crash. Chris (Handsor went first, I came in second and (Shawn) Boney was behind me. It’s tough to keep track of your marks with everyone crashing…it was a fortunate finish.

But the Heat didn’t go out quietly.

Following the final buzzer, Harrisburg’s Genoni Martinez and Philadelphia’s Edgar Bartolomeu exchanged pleasantries and a baseball-like brawl quickly ensued.

It’s just adrenaline at the end of the game…(Harrisburg) is fighting for a playoff spot and they just lost with seconds to go and our adrenaline is pumping because we just won the game, said D’Ambra. You just have to be classier.

Spring training has started and the baseball season is not that far away.

The Philadelphia KiXX improve to 21-7 while the Harrisburg Heat fall to 12-19.

Goran Vasic earned the win as the sixth attacker while Chris Damico took the loss. Peter Pappas stopped 9 of 12 shots for the KiXX and Damico stopped 13 of 16 shots.

Fans can visit the Philadelphia KiXX website for schedule and ticket information at: and for the Harrisburg Heat.

First Quarter: HAR Roberto (Gilbert) 2:14; HAR Mormon (Vignjevic) 7:22.
Second Quarter: PHL Morris (Vasic) 3:01; PHL Vasic (Lunsford) 10:08; HAR Burk (Damico) 13:05.
Third Quarter: none.
Fourth Quarter: PHL D’Ambra (Vasic) 14:49.

Harrisburg: 4-2-0-0
Philadelphia: 0-5-0-2

Harrisburg: 6-6-4-5
Philadelphia: 6-10-4-10

Harrisburg: 2-1-3-2
Philadelphia: 4-4-3-6

©2003 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.