Varsity Boys’ Soccer Blitzes Vista Ridge in 3-0 Win

By Jared Hyman, Photographer/Videographer

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  • With a Ranger trailing on his side, forward Niko Djordjevic '21 dribbles the ball upfield. Djordjevic advanced the ball and made a successful pass.

  • Running towards the ball, goalkeeper Justin Lang '20 kicks the ball down field. Lang blocked a lot of close shots throughout the game never allowing the offensive team to score a single goal.

    Photo By Ishika Samant

  • After receiving a pass from another teammate, Diego Djordjevic '22 brings the ball across the field. Djordjevic is a midfielder for the Warriors.

  • Ben Forshay '20 attempts to kick the ball in field. Forshay stopped two big attempted goals for the offensive team allowing the warriors to keep their dominant 3-0 lead.

    Photo By Ishika Samant

  • With an opposing defender in front, Patrick Cotey '23 dribbles the ball around. Cotey was able to successfully make a pass to another teammate.

  • Diego Djordjevic '22 weaves past the defenders to pass the ball to another teammate. Djordjevic plays a midfielder for the team.

    Photo By Ishika Samant

  • Midfielder Cesar Frias '20 head bumps the ball as a teammate throws it in. Frias was a key player in the defense stopping many of the opposing teams tries to run downfield.

    Photo By Ishika Samant

  • Dribbling upfield past defenders, Yash Kakkad '21 attempts to keep possession of the ball. Kakkad was later edged out by two opposing defenders and lost possession.

  • Tom Gentot '20 passes the ball to a team mate. Gentot's last minute pass gave the opposing team no time to catch up to the Warriors' 3-0 lead.

    Photo By Ishika Samant

  • Nikola Djordjevic '21 dribbles the ball as an army of defenders follows him. Djordjevic ran down field and passed the ball to Louis Niemurg '20 who attempted to score a goal.

    Photo By Ishika Samant

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After a tough loss to open district play against Hendrickson, the varsity boys’ soccer team looked to get back in the win column in their home opener against the Vista Ridge Rangers on Friday, Jan. 17. The offense capitalized on key miscues by Vista Ridge and the defense shut down the opposing attack, shutting out the Rangers 3-0.

“Our communication was up from last game and I think overall we played much better as a team than against our other opponents,” Theo Givens ‘20 said. 

Right out of the gate, Vista Ridge sealed the edges and drove towards the net but were cut short by a strong defensive push, led by Ben Forshay ‘20 and West Bevins ‘20. The offense soon got the edge and spent most of the rest of the half on the Ranger side of the field after a pair of shots from forward Nikola Djordjevic ‘21 that just fell short of the net. Following a tough shot by Bevins from deep out, the Warriors found the goal first on the ensuing corner after a beautiful touch by Bevins was headed in by Diego Djordjevic ‘22. Vista Ridge responded by aggressively driving down the field but good defense by Bevins and Cesar Frias ‘20 prevented any further threat. After a pair of turnovers by the Rangers, the Warriors almost took advantage of their mistakes, after a pair of shots by Louis Niemerg ‘20 were blocked by Vista Ridge’s goalie. Aiding the defensive effort, Justin Lang ‘20 ensured the Ranger offense would not score, as he made a couple of saves and got some defensive help from Patrick Cotey ‘23 to close out the half. 

After a slow start in the first half, the offense didn’t waste any time to burst by Ranger defenders with N. Djordjevic and Niemerg missing a few shots. Even when the offense couldn’t capitalize, the defense got critical stops when they needed it, with Forshay and Philip Richardson ‘20 making two momentum-swinging stops.

“Our original plan was to play three guys on defense but Coach [Stefano Salerno] thought it was important for us to play four in the back to match Vista Ridge’s style of play,” Forshay said. “We had to put a forward in one-on-one defense because of Noah [Lugani ‘21]’s injury, so we just drilled him a lot this week in practice and it obviously paid off.”

Givens capped off an ensuing push by nailing a free kick from long range to put the Warriors up 2-0. A forced turnover by Richardson enabled another attack by N. Djordjevic but was cut short by a spectacular diving save by the Vista Ridge goalie. While it seemed that the Rangers had a spark of life, Givens made sure it was short-lived; after another save by Lang, Givens took the return all the way back and scored with a shot that barely chipped over the keeper to seal the deal for the Warriors, making the score 3-0. Lang made sure the Rangers stayed off the scoreboard with a save in the final seconds to secure the shutout win.

“We definitely played better overall as a team and our chemistry could be seen every play,” Coach Salerno said. “That just goes to show how well we play when we are on the same page as a team and communicate well; I’m proud of the guys for the way they shook off a tough loss.”

The Warriors will look to start a winning streak on the road at Dragon Stadium on Tuesday, Jan. 21 against the Round Rock Dragons.