Sherando boys’ soccer edges Pioneers, 2-1
STEPHENS CITY — In the aftermath of the Sherando boys’ soccer team’s game Tuesday night, there was some confusion over who scored on its corner kick goal — even the person credited with it was calling it “a team goal.”
Perhaps that’s fitting. It certainly takes a team effort to generate as many corner kicks as the Warriors did.
Sherando left itself as the lone undefeated team in the Northwestern District with a 2-1 win over Millbrook Tuesday night at Arrowhead Stadium, snapping the Pioneers’ overall six-game winning streak.
The Warriors (6-1, 2-0 Northwestern) scored the winning goal in the 54th minute on their ninth corner kick of the game. Conversely, Millbrook (6-3, 1-1) had taken just one corner kick at that juncture.
An average of one corner kick every six minutes? That’s a situation Sherando will take every time.
“We’ve been trying to work on [corner kicks] this year, because with our size, we’ve got to take advantage of it,” Sherando coach Pat Anderson said. “Crazy things happen inside the box.
“Long throw-ins, corner kicks — if we can get them in there, maybe something good will happen for us.”
On their first corner kick attempt of the game six minutes in, Sherando nearly scored. But sophomore midfielder Andrew Wade, after taking the corner, was denied on his header attempt after Millbrook was unable to clear the ball immediately.
But with the score 1-1, their ninth and last attempt led to their best result, and the difference in the game. Wade’s corner kick in the 54th minute was knocked down in the box before it eventually was knocked in by Sherando senior defender Tylar Clowser.
Well, maybe Clowser.
“It was just a mess in there,” Clowser said. “I think it hit off [Sherando senior sweeper Alex] Burns, bounced off another player. It was going in. I was right there, but it was already going in. Nobody really knows who got it in, so we’re going to go with a team goal.”
Millbrook coach Keith Kilmer said the Pioneers had talked with each other prior to the game about how dangerous Sherando can be on set pieces, and the Warriors certainly proved it. Earlier, Sherando tied the game in the 32nd minute of the first half on a high, 35-yard direct kick with heat near the left sideline from senior Cade Petty.
“We were standing on the sideline saying, ‘There’s too many corners, too many corners,’ and sure enough, they got one in,” Kilmer said.
There was still much soccer to be played, but the Pioneers — who opened the scoring in the 24th minute on a perfect cross from junior midfielder Perry Roberson to junior midfielder Esteban Melivulu, who blasted in a volley from 12 yards out with his right foot — were only able to generate a few dangerous opportunities over the remainder of the game.
Junior midfielder Nathan Burgreen likely had the best look, but his shot in the 77th minute went over the crossbar.
Anderson gave a lot of credit to his defense — led by Burns, Clowser, Tanner Ruths, Collin Ellias and goalkeeper Rodrigo Casteriana (six saves) — for keeping Millbrook’s opportunities to a minimum. Sherando had a 14-11 shot advantage.
“[Millbrook has] so many potent guys offensively,” he said. “I thought our defense did a good job of keeping their shape and staying with their marks. Just being sound discipline-wise.”
Kilmer said the Pioneers’ didn’t give themselves enough opportunity to test Sherando’s defense though, because he thought they got away from their normal style.
“Not enough of the simple stuff,” said Kilmer, whose team got seven saves from junior goalkeeper Taylor James. “Just too much up and down on the field. Too vertical on the field. You’ve got to come square.”
And in the Northwestern District — which even has an improved Skyline this year — it’s clear that teams will have to come strong every night.
There’s six still games for Sherando in the district, but the Warriors have done well to pass two early tests in James Wood and Millbrook.
“Every game in the district is going to be a dogfight,” Clowser said. “I’m really proud of everybody, because we fought hard.”
— Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow on Twitter @WinStarSports1