Soccer: TAD blanked by Indian Trail9:44 am | April 5, 2012
Vicious effort, superior focus and unselfish play were the hallmarks of Indian Trail’s 4-0 defeat of the T.A. Dugger varsity soccer squad Wednesday night at Dave Rider Field.
The win, which moves the Hilltoppers into second place in the Middle 8 conference standings, was reflective of a dominant trend which is now permeating through all the levels of the Science Hill soccer program.
“We are really focused on developing our players at a young age in this program, and it was great to see our seventh-graders show the prowess they showed tonight,” said Indian Trail coach Jordan Campbell. “The fact that our eighth-graders are undefeated and in first place of this conference with us right behind them, it is all reflective of a winning developmental trend that we hope remains intact as these athletes enter the high school ranks down the road.”
Although shots on goal early by Rob McDermott provided shades of the Jr. Hilltopper offensive prowess that would later ensure victory, the Jr. Cyclones displayed tough defensive effort to keep the game scoreless for the first 16 minutes.
Noah Lovelace, the Jr. Cyclones’ sturdy goalkeeper, was the embodiment of the aforementioned effort. Time and again in the early going, Lovelace came up with crucial saves in the face of fierce Jr. Hilltopper strikes into the box.
Chris Schaff emerged as the lone offensive threat for the Jr. Cyclones in the early going as it took two acrobatic saves by Mason Herbert to stop two nearly perfect shots on goal by the youngster. All in all, the Jr. Cyclone effort in the first half helped to keep the games momentum fairly stagnated.
All that changed at the 3:40 mark.
It was at that point that McDermott displayed his lethal grasp of ball handling skills as he powered by the Jr. Cyclone midfield to fire the game’s first point into the net. The play seemed to electrify the Jr. Hilltoppers, and in less than a minute they lit the scoreboard up again.
This time McDermott slid a perfectly placed pass between two Jr. Cyclone defenders in the box to his teammate Sam Massey in transition. The result was another perfectly placed boot into the net and a 2-0 Jr. Hilltopper lead going into the intermission. After the game, Campbell expressed satisfaction with her team’s ability to capitalize at crucial late times in the game.
“You really love to see your players perform well in the first and last five minutes of both halves, it is really big for momentum,” she said. “Being away from home especially, you know you won’t always perform well out of the gate, so you really want to close the first half well.”
Cooper Williams and Will Wireman each provided goals within the first twenty minutes of the second half to build the Jr. Hilltopper lead to 4-0 by the 10-minute mark. The comfortable lead provided Campbell with a chance to get game experience for her younger players, as well as move her versatile group from position to position.
With the win, Indian Trail moves to 4-1 on the year while the Jr. Cyclones drop to 2-2-1.