Early outburst seals game in 3-0 win
The game had just begun, and only ten minutes had passed, but the Blair boys' varsity soccer team had already left Kennedy in the dust thanks to stellar offensive play, backing it up with impenetrable defense and solid goal keeping to complete a dominant win. Goals in the third, fifth and eighth minutes of the first half gave Blair a 3-0 lead, which they would maintain for the entire game. The team showed great promise, all but erasing memories of last year's disappointing 3-8-1 record.
The team's energy in the first half was evident as Blair took advantage of a porous Kennedy defense to score three early goals. "As a team, they were eager to play. We have been practicing for so long. They just wanted to get on the field and compete," said Coach Adrian Baez after the game.
Junior Alec McLean, who scored in the fifth minute, agreed. "We came out strong and we had a lot of ball control," he said. Blair kept the ball in their possession and put continuous pressure on Kennedy for the first twenty minutes of the game. Senior Bereket Abebe scored Blair's first goal on a quick flick from junior Mikey Worden, who was also responsible for Blair's goal in the eighth minute, scoring on penalty kick.
These two goals were separated by a score from Mclean, who caught a loose ball 15 yards outside of the goal and proceeded to volley a shot into the upper corner of the net. Mclean played an important role on defense as well. "With Alec, Afirew [Abirham] and Sam [Morris] we have a really strong, steady defense," Baez said after the game.
McLean also said that Blair's ability to "cover up" opposing players on defense limited Kennedy's potential scoring opportunities. In the second half of the game, Blair took ten shots on goal while senior goal keeper Captain Adam Macleod had to make only three saves.
Macleod felt that the entire team was able to prevent Kennedy from getting easy shots or converting on turnovers. "We marked up on defense, and we passed well in the midfield," he said after the game.
The efficient passing helped to prevent turnovers while also giving Blair more opportunities to move the ball up to their best attackers. "Getting the ball to our fast guys on top was essential," said Baez.
This game showed great promise for the rest of the year; the only obvious fault was the excessive number of penalties called on the Blair offense. Blair was called for offsides eleven times during the game, putting an end to many potential scoring chances. Regardless, Blair was able to maintain pressure in the second half, even with their starters on the bench. Macleod felt that "passing in the second half was good," preventing Kennedy from getting possession, while maintaining the shut-out.
Still Macleod felt that there was "a lot of stuff that we can still work on." But Macleod was optimistic when discussing the rest of the season. "We have a lot of potential and I think we could easily compete for counties, maybe even states."
Baez concurred. "If we are able to get the ball to our target people we should fair very well this season." Blair's record is now 1-0-0.
Blair's next game is Sept. 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Churchill.
Ethan Kuhnhenn. Ethan Kuhnhenn is a junior in the Communication Arts program and is entering his first year as a SCO staff member. When he's not fishing in his new bass boat, you can probably find him at Taco Bell chilling with his best friend, the cheesy … More »
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