Colonials Strike Early Against Royals
By Blake Belden, staff writer
Mar 31, 2014, 07:27
Blake Belden/Hopewell News/ News Patriot
The Colonial Heights varsity boys soccer team rode the bus home having earned their first win at Prince George in four years on Thursday night. With a quick goal in the first three minutes of the game, the Colonials held the Royals scoreless to begin the season with a 1-0 defeat over a team that was ranked among the top 10 teams in the region by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Jake Tyler, senior Colonial midfielder, sprinted for the ball after it snuck in between two Prince George defenders and kicked a strong grounder straight into the right corner of the goal, an early burst of momentum for a team with some offensive difficulties.
"It's been a struggle for us to score, so to get one that quickly was...definitely nice," said Colonial Heights head coach J.P. McNulty.
Coming off an 0-2 preseason loss to Lafayette, Thursday night's matchup was a battle in the midfield, a back and forth competition where neither team seemed to have any outright dominance in possessing the ball.
Although Colonial Heights scored quickly and took an early lead, Prince George started off making more offensive runs at the goal in the first half, which Colonial Heights was able to respond to and retaliate with equal firepower as the game continued.
"It was certainly a bit contentious at the end there. They had a great opportunity and Kevin [Loftis] came up with a huge save for us and that was a big," McNulty said.
With under five minutes remaining, and Prince George's situation becoming more desperate, senior Royal striker Darion Mealing swiftly darted down right field, juked left and kicked a bullet directly at the goal, which Loftis deftly rejected.
Loftis finished the evening with two saves, and Prince George goalie Logan Chadek had three saves in the loss. The Colonials had six shots, with four on goal compared to the Royals' five shots with two on goal.
McNulty said that his squad is stronger on the defensive side of the game, but is putting a lot of focus on honing in on their offensive game play through better transitioning and more efficient pass connection.
"Our wingers, we've got to work on getting those guys forward and opportunities, but in the second half, Linwood [Fraher] had several opportunities on that outside right, and that's kind of what we had talked about at halftime was getting that ball wide and getting that
through ball," McNulty said.
The Colonials played fast in the first half of the game, failing to fully take their time and capitalize on certain possessions, but showed improvement as they continued into the second half of the game.
"We were just making silly mistakes and not thinking. I think definitely in the second half they did what we asked them to do and they were much smarter with the ball," McNulty said.
The Colonials' starting lineup is bolstered by seven seniors, Kevin Loftis, Wayde Collius, Ethan Yanes, Jake Tyler, David Rigby, Jake Hill and Cody Beeler, who McNulty said are the key playmakers who will push the team during games and practices.
"Those are the guys that have really stepped up. They started off season workouts in November, and they've kind of been running the train so to speak," McNulty said.
Colonial Heights (1-0) will play at Petersburg on Tuesday and at home against Dinwiddie on Thursday.