By MICHAEL CHILDERS, CJ Correspondent
Tuesday evening’s Pulaski County-Somerset boys soccer game was the usual crosstown match-up early on, as both teams went into the locker room at halftime with the score knotted up at 1-1.
That all would change in the second half, when the home standing Briar Jumpers tallied four goals to break the game open and come away with a 5-2 win over the visiting Maroons at Clara Morrow Field.
Jumper head coach Steve Wallace wanted his team to put away every scoring opportunity that they had in the game. In the opening half, the Jumpers failed to do that, but that all changed in the second half of action.
“We played hard and did a lot of things that we wanted to, but we were bad a putting the ball in the net,” began Wallace. “We’ve got to put away opportunities, and we had a bunch. Eventually those attempts went in for us, and we scored four goals in the second half.”
Somerset struck first in the rivalry match-up, scoring their first goal in the sixth minute of the game. Marcus Arnsten, a junior, tallied the first goal of the game and his first of two goals on the night.
Casey Inabnitt’s Maroons got on the board less than three minutes later when Somerset scored an own goal to tie the match up at one apiece, which would be the score at the intermission.
Senior Austin Hill went to work for the Jumpers in the second half, as he scored a pair of goals to propel the Jumpers to victory. Hill’s inaugural goal of the evening came in the 50th minute, a goal that put Somerset out front, 2-1.
With 14:53 left to play in the contest, Somerset sophomore Jaron Richards got a shot past a jumble of players to give Somerset a two-goal, 3-1 lead over the Maroons.
Pulaski County cut the lead to a lone goal with 7:11 left to play in the game, when sophomore Caleb New got a goal to make the score, 3-2.
Two minutes later, Hill got his second score of the night to widen the gap back to a pair of goals, as Somerset led, 4-2. In extra time, Arnsten added another goal to the total to put Somerset ahead, 5-2, which would be the final tally.
Inabnitt, who saw his club fall to 2-1-0 on the year, says his team must get in shape for them to be a successful team.
“I thought they played hard, but we were not in that great of shape, and I felt that really hurt us in the second half,” told the Maroon soccer coach. “I think that caused to make some mental errors and led to Somerset scoring some goals. Hats off to Somerset – they were in very good shape and kept us under pressure the whole game.”
“I don’t feel like some of my guys are mentally ready just yet,” continued Inabnitt. “I think we could have benefited from getting a few more games under belts. I think we’ll see a different game when we play them in October.”
Somerset, who stands at 1-1-1 after the win over the Jumpers, will have to face the Maroons down the road again in October. When that time comes, Wallace knows that Pulaski County will be more than ready to avenge the loss.
“It’s a regular district game – it’s going to be a tough district,” said the veteran Somerset coach. “It was 1-1 at the half, so it will be a tough game next time. We played hard, but Pulaski played hard too. Casey (Inabnitt’s) team will get better and better.”
Both teams will be the road tonight. Somerset will travel to Oneida Baptist Institute, while the Maroons will play at South Laurel.