Some might have expected the Southern Boone varsity soccer team to be a bit rusty after having a ten-day break between games, but that wasn’t the case. Last Thursday evening, after the senior players celebrated Teacher Appreciation Night on their home field, the varsity squad improved to 13-0 on the season against a much-improved Fulton Hornets team (11-5). It also marked the return of five senior contributors who had been out of action since late September due to COVID quarantine precautions.
The game opened with the Eagles trying out a new formation that Coach Vandelicht believes could be useful later in the season. Despite that change, Southern Boone continued its usual habit of controlling possession of the ball for most of the first half. Fifteen minutes in, three scoring opportunities presented themselves, but the Eagles couldn’t convert. A Trenton Roney left-footed shot missed just high, followed by a Landon Beeson attempt that flew right of the goal. A minute later, Jack Bigos also sent a shot that sailed wide right. Eagles goalkeeper Cal Montgomery was tested occasionally by the speedy Fulton forwards, but he made his first save with just under 12 minutes remaining in the half. Southern Boone got on the board when a Bigos corner kick into the box was headed beautifully by Roney, but the Fulton keeper made an outstanding block. The ball rolled just a few feet outside the goal, and Mason Ahern was the first to get to it with a sliding score. The half ended with the Eagles holding a 1-0 lead.
Like so many other games this season, the Eagles dominated the second half. They possessed the ball even more than in the first 40 minutes while also putting more shots on their opponent’s goal. However, the home team still missed several scoring chances during the opening minutes. Twelve minutes in, Jack McCluskey had a promising break-away opportunity that didn’t find the net. At the 21:29 mark, another Beeson shot missed to the right. Halfway through the period, Fulton finally gained possession and threatened to get a shot off to tie the match, but the Eagles back line held and prevented a shot. With 8:36 left, Grant Hoehne dribbled to the left goal line and sent the ball to Beeson in front of the goal. Beeson placed his shot on goal, but a defender deflected it. In what seemed like slow motion, the Fulton defender and goalkeeper both frantically tried to prevent the ball from entering their goal, but they could not. 2-0, Eagles. With under three minutes remaining, defender Josh Pridemore took the ball in the attacking third of the field and seemed determined to get his team another score. After beating the last defender to the left of the goal, Pridemore’s shot beat the keeper to the near post to make it 3-0. Seconds later, Ahern nearly added another tally when he launched a strong shot that the goalkeeper barely deflected over the top of the goal.
Coach Vandelicht was happy with his team’s performance, stating that he felt that this “might have been the best possession game” that they had played all season. He stated that when facing an opponent like Fulton, who likes to “pack it in” defensively, it is important to swing the ball from one side of the field to the other, which they did well. The coach credited his back-line for being instrumental in that aspect of the game.
In JV action against Fulton, the teams played one 35-minute match. Aidan Bukowsky was in goal for the Eagles and earned the shut out. Just over seven minutes in, a Reece Baker corner kick was placed perfectly in the box, where James Brooks headed it in for the opening score. With just over 12 minutes remaining, Brooks pushed the ball to the left goal line and dropped a pass to Titus Jetton. Jetton one-touched the ball into the net for his first goal of the season and to secure the 2-0 victory.