WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley South boys and girls soccer teams kicked off their seasons on Saturday, Aug. 21 with a doubleheader sweep of Carlisle.
Boys win 4-1 behind Brayden Marker’s four goals
The Panthers led off the doubleheader and got off to a fast start with a goal by Brayden Marker just over a minute and a half into the match.
He followed it up just three minutes later with another goal, and completed a successful hat trick by the 15:30 mark in the first half.
“It’s definitely good to get off to an early lead,” coach Clay Young said. “You know, one of my senior captains [Aidan London] went down with an injury, so we had a lot of players playing positions that they don’t normally play. So it’s nice to have the lead. So you know, we were trying a bunch of different things and we got to the finish line.”
After the Panthers took the 3-0 lead, Carlisle responded with a goal of its own at 11:02 in the first half, and it momentarily looked liked the Indians might get back into it.
Despite the early lead and ensuing goal by Carlisle, Young said he was not concerned with his team becoming complacent.
“No, because I’ve got a great group of seniors and – you know, their freshman year, they were on a team that we had the early leads and we gave them up or we were down early and we came back, so they know that soccer is an 80-minute game and either team can win,” he said. “You’ve got to play for full 80 minutes.”
Marker added the fourth and final goal for the Panthers at 22:49 in the second half, this one a missile that sailed over Carlisle’s goalkeeper from 30 feet out.
“We expected big things from him this season and he definitely lived up to the expectation,” Young said. “But, you know, we’re going to have to get some goals from some other players. He’s not gonna be able to score all of our goals.”
Overall, Young said that it was good to get the first win under their belt.
“You know, this was our first scrimmage too because we didn’t have any scrimmages. So, you know, me as a coach, I’m learning a lot about our team as we’re learning about ourselves,” he said. “As a learning experience, I’m happy to get the win and we’re just gonna keep moving on.”
Young said that sophomore Jake Sarver stepped up Saturday at sweeper and that he thought Sarver played “awesome.”
“All of our kids played awesome,” he said. “We had a lot of kids that they’re playing positions they weren’t normally used to with the injury [to London], so overall really happy.”
Girls get late first-half offensive flurry, win 5-1
Carlisle got the scoring started in this match with an early goal less than nine minutes in for the 1-0 lead.
The Indians kept pressure on South throughout the first half before the Panthers broke through with goals by senior Jasie Sarver at 16:40, junior Makiah Newport at 15:54, junior Madi Hundley at 13:07 and senior Amelia Wharton at 9:33.
“Honestly, we came out really tough,” coach Eric Petersen said. “We just missed a number of goals that should have put us up early, so that’s an area to work on, but the girls play grit. Give it to Carlisle. I mean, Carlisle has really stepped up from what they saw last year. They’re a tough team this year, so it’s looking good.”
Coming off of a 13-5 season, Petersen said he was pleased with the team’s response to some early adversity.
“That’s what I was just bragging on them about,” he said. “You know, we want to be aggressive, dominant, tough attitude that doesn’t get down, and I told him from the beginning and in that little huddle there, I said, ‘I like that we were down 1-0,’ because we need to learn that toughness. We need to come out expecting to we’re going to come out hard.”
While South had struggles finding the goal early, it wasn’t due to a lack of trying. Multiple near-misses and some fouls during breakaways held them from scoring, but the late first half surge was simply a matter of finally getting the shots to go.
“Honestly, we had been playing that aggressively already. We’d already been making the passes, so it wasn’t so much a shift as much as we finally got the balls to go,” he said. “It really was. I mean, we had the shots early on that we didn’t put in the goal. We just finally got the shots.”
Newport added the final goal at 10:03 in the second half, collecting a long pass and working past the goalkeeper to deliver it to the right side of the net.
With scoring spread out and a strong defensive effort, congratulations were spread throughout the team, and Petersen said that they are trying to be nothing but a team this season.
“I got every player off the bench, which was fantastic. Our bench stepped up, our starters led, our veterans were tough,” he said. “Honestly, it was a good night for South and it’s a good way to get this going, but it’s a long season.”
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter