Warrior boys shut out Brentsville
STEPHENS CITY — For a season-opening match, the Sherando boys’ soccer team sure looked like a polished unit.
The senior-heavy Warriors dominated Brentsville in every shape and form, scoring three first-half goals and nearly pitching a shutout before settling for a 3-1 non-district win Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
The defending Northwestern District regular season champions received goals from seniors Cade Petty and Cullen Croson and sophomore Andrew Wade and controlled play so well that Brentsville was able to get just four shots on goal the entire match.
The win was the first for Sherando, which had eight seniors in its starting lineup, over Brentsville since 2007.
“That was a nice effort by those guys to be able to beat Brentsville,” said Sherando coach Patrick Anderson. “We usually don’t have much luck against them. We’ve had some close ones with them, but couldn’t pull one out. So it’s a nice win for the guys.”
In the first half, the Warriors kept pressure on the Tigers and were always on the attack around Brentsville’s goal. Sherando worked its set pieces well and broke through in the 25th minute.
As the Warriors pushed up, Petty was fouled by Brentsville’s Nate Duffus. Given a penalty shot, Petty executed it perfectly, sending his kick easily into the upper-right corner.
“I got a ball played from the corner and I cut it back and was driving on my right foot, and I pushed the ball past me and [Duffus] just cleaned out my legs,” Petty said. “I just tried [to fool] the keeper left, and put it in the right corner.”
Not satisfied with a one-goal lead, Sherando did not take long to extend it. In the 30th minute, sophomore forward Tommy Buono worked up perfectly along the far side and as he neared the goal, sent a beautiful cross to a waiting Croson, who had an easy blast past Brentsville keeper Logan Bull for a 2-0 lead.
“It was good to see them using each other,” Anderson said. “We were trying to work on the little things and work well as a team. It was nice to see Croson get a goal because he’s a role player, but it was right place, [at the] right time. They buy into the team concept.”
A player that was called up to varsity late in his freshman season, Buono may have an expanded role this season. His dribbling and speed gave the Tigers plenty of trouble and he might have been able to continue to do damage had he not left for good after getting tripped early in the second half.
Anderson was impressed with how Buono, who was fine after the match was completed, was able to create during Sherando’s second goal of the first half.
“It was just being able to take away their space,” Anderson said. “Then again, we run at them in goal and make them play defense in the box. A good cross-ball worked. It’s good to see [Buono] get that experience, and he’s only a sophomore. He’s a ball player, that’s for sure.”
With under a minute left in the first half, the Warriors got a bonus. On a loose ball outside the penalty box, Wade converged, dribbled up, and looped a kick over Bull’s head from 10 yards out to extend Sherando’s lead to three goals.
“It was a nice little chip,” Anderson said of Wade’s goal. “It’s much nicer to have a three-goal lead going into the half than a two-goal lead.”
Sherando, which out-shot Brentsville 10-1 in the first half, did not have as many opportunities to score in the second half. But what the Warriors did gain was valuable experience for their deep roster. Anderson used many combinations throughout the win and the last of the reserves came into the game with around six minutes left to play.
“We got 21 guys in tonight so that was a good plus for us to get some of our younger kids experience,” Anderson said. “For the most part, we’re all on the same page which is good at this time of the season, especially with doing nothing but practicing the last 25 days.”
With 13 seniors total on the roster, Anderson has plenty of options to turn to for leadership. Add in promising sophomores like Buono and Wade, and the chemistry could lead to another strong run in the Northwestern.
“We’ve told them that they’ve got the target on their backs this year,” Anderson said. “People are going to be gunning for them, so they better be working for it. So far so good.”
The Tigers avoided a shutout when freshman striker Enrique Farias scored off an assist from classmate C.J. Martins in the 79th minute.
Sherando senior keeper Rodrigo Casteriana recorded three saves in the win.