Varsity Boys’ Soccer Drops Road Contest vs. Vandegrift 5-2

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  • Theo Givens ’20 attempts to outrun Vandegrift defenders with Niko Djordjevic ’21 trailing behind.

  • Coach Stefano Salerno watches the team on the pitch.

  • The Warriors huddle together before the start of the match.

  • Theo Givens ’20 fights for possession with a Vandegrift player.

  • Sam Helwig ’19 attempts to get past a Vandegrift defender.

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On the night of Tuesday, March 5, in cold conditions at Ed W. Monroe Memorial Stadium, the varsity boys’ soccer team went into their fixture against the Vandegrift Vipers hoping for a series sweep of their district foes. However, their plans of a sweep were foiled by the Vipers, as Vandegrift handed the Warriors a 5-2 loss in the second meeting between the two sides.

“We didn’t have the right attitude going into the game, we lacked desire and the urge to want to win. We knew the importance of the game but clearly we didn’t have the feeling in our hearts to win,” Avi Kacker ‘19 said. “There was no leadership on the field and I, along with the other captains, shut down and stopped talking.”

In the early beginnings of the contest, the Vipers put the pressure on the Warriors, with the team having to defend multiple attacking opportunities from the opponents. Goalkeeper Justin Lang ‘20 was busy in net, but was able to keep the early scoring chances out, with the backline also defending well during this sequence. But more than halfway into the first half, the Warriors’ defense started to show some cracks, with the Vipers tallying two goals in a span of four minutes to open the scoring, thus causing the Warriors to go down 2-0.

After Vandegrift’s goals, the Warriors were able to string together numerous scoring opportunities, but were unable to produce a goal to cut into the Vipers’ advantage. After the Warriors’ last attempt of the first half, the Vipers uncorked one last counterattack to extend their lead, but an impressive save from Lang denied Vandegrift of another goal. At halftime, the Warriors found themselves trailing 2-0 from the two converted opportunities the Vipers had earlier in the frame.

“The goals that [Vandegrift] were able to convert and how quickly they scored them definitely got to us,” Noah Lugani ‘21 said. “We have to do a better job with limiting the opportunities our opponents get for upcoming games.”

For the first third of the second half, the two squads were locked in an intense defensive battle, with neither side getting many opportunities to tack on a goal. The first real chance of the second half would come for the Vipers, but another Lang save, this time from a free kick, denied Vandegrift of another goal. Despite the save, Vandegrift were able to tack on two more goals in three minutes to make the scoreline 4-0 in favor of the Vipers. The Warriors’ attacking struggles continued until late in the half, when Felipe Centeno ‘19 was finally able to convert from a corner kick, and less than a minute passed when Niko Djordjevic ‘21 added another goal to the team’s tally, making the score 4-2. Unfortunately for the Warriors, the rally would prove to be too late, and a Vandegrift goal inside the last minute wiped out any hopes of a miraculous comeback. In the end, the Warriors fell 5-2.

“[Vandegrift] were winning 50-50 balls, pressing the back line and constantly running,” Kacker said. “In addition to us constantly losing possession when we should’ve made easy ten-yard passes, we never truly gave our attack a chance to go get a goal, and when they had a chance they were either very close or capitalized.”

The Warriors are looking to rebound from the loss as they get set to take on the Leander Lions on Friday, March 8 at the Warrior Bowl.