Strong second half guides boys soccer to 7-0 win
Sept. 26, BLAKE—
The Blazers first half performance showed no inclination of a team about to win 7-0. The boys' varsity soccer team started the game slowly, even against a Blake opponent fielding only 10 players due to disciplinary reasons. After a motivational half time speech and a spark from the bench, the Blazers erupted for seven goals in the second half. The drastic turn-around marked Blair's highest offensive output of the regular season, giving the team a second straight victory, while improving their record to 3-2.
The Blazers have become accustomed to slow starts, with Blair scoring only one goal in the first half all season. Tonight was no exception as the Blazers took the field and showed a clear lack of intensity. Junior midfielder Jack Graul explained his team's lackluster start saying, "We started slow because of the relaxed way we prepared for the game…we didn't consider Blake to be real competition."
Coach Adrian Baez agreed with Graul's analysis of the team's poor start and added a warning for future games. "Taking a team like Blake too lightly is a mistake because any team can come out strong and beat anyone at any given time."
Though the Blazers couldn't score during the first half, they still held possession of the ball for the majority of the time. Because Blake started a man down, Blake was forced to drop back into a defensive oriented structure, contributing to the Bengal's first half shut out of the Blazers. Junior goalie Matt McClain described this tactic, saying that Blake packed "themselves into the box like sardines." This prevented "most shots from ever reaching the goalie."
During the half time break, coach Baez and his captains voiced their opinions, hoping for a more energetic start to the second half. Graul sited theses orations, especially the one by senior co-captain forward Mac Kpadeh, as one of the main causes of the second half turn around. "Mac inspired us, telling us to calm down and keep up the intensity." Kpadeh also told the players that if they could score only one goal, the team would get on a roll. How right he was.
To open the second half, coach Baez made the unusual decision to play six non-starters in order increase the team's intensity. The choice proved to be one of genius. After an early goal from Kpadeh, Blair began to take control of the game offensively. Within five minutes after Kpadeh's goal, substitute Graul, dribbled past two defenders on the right side before driving towards the middle. Graul shot towards the opposite side of the goal, and the Blake goalie responded quickly, getting a hand on the ball, but it was not enough, and the shot soared into the back of the net. The Blazers scored again three minutes later when substitute junior forward Lamboni Yendoukoa crossed the ball to junior forward Josh Zipin who used his body to deflect the ball into the goal. Junior midfielder Jessie Ruf, junior midfielder Dag Gioennaess and senior midfielder Anwar Ahmend all contributed goals in the next 25 minutes to push the final score to 7-0.
Every goal was either scored or assisted by a non-starting player, a testament to the depth of this Blazer team. Coach Baez described the advantages of having a team with such depth. "We have so many talented players it is just a matter of getting the right combination at the right time. At this point in the season some players fade and some players show up so it's all a matter of getting all the right players together."
Even with the large victory, the team wants to keep the game in perspective. McClain explained, "we won but it was against a less talented opponent playing down a man. We need to keep this level of play up if we want to keep winning."
Blair's next game is at home against Springbrook this Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.
Phillip Allen. Phillip Allen is a CAP junior who basically is a fascinating kid. Though he possesses little writing ability he was accepted to both the Communication Arts Program and now Silver Chips Online. He follows the Washington Redskins, Wizards and Nationals religiously. He plays soccer (for ... More »