After suffering a 1-0 setback at Lynchburg Clay last week, the North Adams boy’s soccer team came back with a 4-0 win at home against the West Union Dragons on Monday evening.
The game started off nearly perfectly for West Union when a collision inside the box gave West Union a penalty just three minutes into the game. The chance was struck well to the left side of the goal, beating the keeper, but it clanged off the left post and North Adams was able to clear, averting the danger.
“I disagreed with the call,” North Adams head coach Ike Wooten said. “The soccer gods found it was an incorrect call. They corrected the referee’s mistake.”
About 10 minutes after the penalty miss the Devils struck first blood when a cross from the left side by senior Aaron Pertuset came in right along the touch line, bounced off the post along the ground and popped out to junior Patrick England who was crashing the net and put the chance away despite West Union protests that the ball had completely crossed the line.
At the 18:07 mark of the first half a North Adams free kick got behind the West Union defense and fell to a North Adams attacker on the left side of the six-yard box. The ball was hit towards the far post and beat the keeper making it 2-0.
Attacks like that became a routine play for North Adams. A long punt by senior goalkeeper Drew Coppock would get all the way to the West Union back line, which many times gave up chances for the North Adams strikers. Wooten said that’s possibly the most effective offense at the high school level.
“The defense starts in their defensive third,” Wooten said. “Most of the goals that you’re going to get at the high school level you’re not going to develop all the way from the back and make six or seven beautiful passes and then find the 18 and dump it off. It’s going to come off of turnovers. So it’s a lot of high press and making the defense make mistakes and capitalizing.”
Just a minute later it looked as if it was going to be quickly made 3-0 after Pertuset found a teammate from the right side who smashed the ball over the net.
It wasn’t until the 2:25 mark where the Devils were able to cash in again when a North Adams attacker got free after his defender fell and a one bounce cross from the left side to Pertuset was struck home giving North Adams a 3-0 lead at halftime.
But that halftime lead was not satisfying to Wooten who felt his team by that point should have been up by more than three.
“I just told them we weren’t satisified,” Wooten said. “Absolutely ridiculous that after about 10 or 15 minutes we reverted to the type of game that they were playing. they kick it long and hope for the best. We started doing that after we had been knocking the ball around, finding the space, getting chance after chance after chance and you just give up on it? I don’t understand.”
After a second half that saw considerably fewer offensive chances, the Dragons had at that point the best chance to score with about 14:00 to play when a free kick fell to a West Union striker who shot it over the crossbar, clearing the danger.
Just three minutes later Pertuset struck again finding himself on the left side of the box and beating the keeper for the fourth goal of the night for the Devils.
The game ended 4-0, but even then Wooten wasn’t completely happy with his team’s offensive performance.
“The forwards just aren’t finding the ball correctly and they’re not getting under it and there’s just not enough fight for it,” Wooten said. “I just don’t understand how we allow the ball to just bounce and bounce and bounce. We probably had six or seven opportunities three yards out and couldn’t put it away. You have to be willing to trade teeth for goals and I haven’t found a guy willing to do that yet.”
That perhaps soon-to-be toothless player could be junior Austin Parks according to Wooten, who thinks he has the right mindset to score plenty of goals.
“I think Austin Parks is just crazy enough to do it,”Wooten said. “He’s never played the game before and I kind of wish he would’ve all these years. The strides he’s made in the past month are a lot better than the strides some guys have made in the past 12 years.”
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.