Boys improve to 5-1 with victory over WJ
Playing on a windy day and a swamp-like field, the Blair boys' soccer team rebounded from a tough loss to Sherwood High School by beating Walter Johnson High School (WJ) 2-1 in overtime on Sept 28.
The game was essentially a repeat of last year's overtime win over WJ, with lone goals coming from both teams in the second half, and a Blair goal late into the first sudden-death overtime period to finish the contest.
The team played vigorously throughout the game, constantly challenging WJ's players and winning balls. Despite the energetic play, the game was remarkably clean for the most part, with fewer than ten fouls and only one card called.
Blair and WJ fought a very even battle, with around the same number of shots taken and equal time of possession for both teams.
The first half was largely uneventful, with a few shots by each team. However, outstanding play by the respective defenses and goalies prevented any scores.
The second half was much the same for the first 25 minutes, with much backing-and-forthing and even play from both teams. However, with 15:32 to go in the game, midfielder Andrew Shoenfeld passed the ball to forward Justin Craver, who booted the ball into the corner of the net for a 1-0 Blazer lead.
The team rejoiced, as did the numerous Blair fans in the WJ bleachers. The Blazers seemed to grow more confident then, and their already heady play was stepped up a notch for a few minutes.
With 2:10 to go, forward/midfielder Alieu Terry broke away from his defenders. As he dashed towards the goal, the WJ goalie came out and tripped Terry, cause for an automatic red card.
Suddenly playing 11 men to ten, Blair's forceful play seemed to slow down. The Blazers stopped attacking the ball as hard as they had been, and, with less than two minutes left in regulation, and unguarded WJ player took a throwin and kicked it through the crowd in Blair's box, evening the score.
After another minute of play, the referees blew their whistles, signalling the end of regulation. The dejected Blazers walked slowly off the field. Blair coach Adrian Baez exhorted his team to just play a little harder.
Overtime started with a WJ kickoff, which Blair quickly won and just as quickly lost again. With 7:45 to play, Craver, a senior, ran downfield and kicked the ball past the WJ goalie, only to have it booted away by a desperate Wildcat defender.
Four minutes and 16 seconds later, the game ended on a beautiful Blair play. Senior forward Erik Coronel dribbled the ball close to WJ's endline, and passed the ball to Terry, who shot the ball past several players, including the Wildcats' backup goalie, for a goal and the victory.
The Blazers stormed the field, as Blair supporters in the stands cheered and applauded and stomped their feet in celebration.
All the Blazer players and Baez acknowledged Craver as having been the key to the victory. "Justin's play today was like, 'Whoa!'" said Baez. "It just clicked."
"Something just clicked, I got all psyched up. I wanted to beat these guys so bad," said Craver in explanation of his outstanding play.
The Blazers play a quick succession of outstanding teams after today, starting with Springbrook on Oct 2.
Luke Bostian. Luke Bostian is a senior in CAP and has nothing much to say for himself. Well, actually, that's a lie. Luke has a lot to say for himself and says it all the time. So he won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say … More »