Knights narrowly beat Blazers

Oct. 17, 2008, midnight | By Jenna Bushnell | 13 years, 1 month ago

Boys' soccer loses in overtime on senior night, 2-1


Frustration and disappointment were carved onto the faces of the boys' varsity soccer team (6-3-2) after losing a close game to Wheaton in overtime, 2-1. Another overtime upset left an especially sour taste in the Blazers' mouth as the loss game on senior night.

After coming back from a 1-0 deficit in the first half, Blair could not score again after halftime, resulting in a tie by the end of regulation. The winning goal came seven minutes into overtime after a Wheaton player booted a ball from a corner kick into the back of the net. "We're still working on defending corners," coach Adrian Baez said. "That play was left unmarked."

Blair was disgruntled to lose to the Knights, who the Blazers thought would be less challenging opponents compared to other teams that they had already played. "It was so unexpected," striker senior George Nouboussie said of the loss. "We were asleep on the field."

Freshman midfielder Jorge Pocheco concurred with Nouboussie, believing that the team did not play to their full potential. "We beat some of the top schools in the county," he said. "But tonight we dropped to [Wheaton's] level of play."

The game started out evenly matched, being played mostly in the midfield, both teams having difficulty getting solid shots off. That changed in the 17th minute when a Wheaton player managed to dribble the ball down the field, avoiding Blair defense, as well as senior goalkeeper Alexis Castillo, to give the Knights a 1-0 advantage.

Following Wheaton's goal, the Blazers increased their intensity by going after the ball to the best of their ability and managed to dominate the rest of the half. Senior defender Mike Mozer made a series of smart plays that got the ball out of Blair's box. In the 23rd minute, Mozer slid and pushed the ball away from a Knight's feet, giving Blair possession back.

Despite their control of the field, the Blazers could not get another shot into the goal until the very end of the half. Senior co-captain midfielder Mikey Funes kicked the ball into the left corner of the net with under a minute left in the half, tying the score 1-1.

In the second half, Blair continued to have primary possession of the ball but had difficulty scoring. In the 44th minute, senior co-captain Mike McClain had a chance on a penalty kick, but the shot was deflected by Wheaton's keeper. "They had a very tall goalkeeper which worked to their advantage," Baez said.

Multiple attempts by McClain, as well as by Funes and junior midfielder Erik Opsahl, were unsuccessful and Blair was not able to score before the end of the second half. Castillo stopped many advances by Wheaton, oftentimes fearlessly diving on top of the ball being dribbled in by the opposing team. The score was tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation. Wheaton went on to score early in overtime to win the game, 2-1.

Even though this was their last home game of the regular season, Baez hopes that his team will learn from the game. "We must remember this so we don't keep making the same mistakes," Baez said.

Nouboussie wants his team to move past this game and look forward to winning their last game of the regular season against Northwood and advancing in playoffs. "We just need to keep our heads up," he said.

The Blazers close out the regular season at Northwood on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

Jenna Bushnell. Jenna Bushnell likes sunshine and funfetti cupcakes. In her free time she enjoys excavating ancient Mayan temples, choreographing classic Broadway revivals, and smiling at strangers. For the right price, she will recite all of the words to "Rock Yo Hips" by Crime Mob. More »

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