By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
Southwestern boy’s head soccer coach Sean McBride has been waiting — practically begging — his club to give him an all-out effort for a full 80 minutes on the field.
On Tuesday night against visiting Pulaski County — for the first time this season — McBride felt as if his club had done just that.
Thanks to Christian Strack’s corner kick that went into the net for a score with just over 13 minutes left in the contest, Southwestern broke a 1-1 tie with the Maroons and made that score hold up for a 2-1 win over PC, in a game that was probably much more important to the Warriors than it was for Pulaski County.
“I just told Casey (Inabnitt) that I thought we needed this game more than they did tonight,” stated McBride after his club gutted out the one-goal victory.
“I think we earned this, because this is the hardest that I’ve ever seen this group play this season,” continued the SWHS coach. “This is the hardest we’ve played all year. I mean, good things can happen when you play hard and I remind them of that every day.”
For PC, maybe this game wasn’t as important to the Maroons, even though it was a cross-town matchup against a county rival.
After all, the Maroons had already defeated Southwestern on The Plains earlier this month in impressive fashion — a 4-0 Pulaski victory — but the Warriors were determined not to give the Maroons a clean sweep this year, especially with it coming on their home field on two occasions.
Pedro Herrera got Southwestern off and rolling very early on, with his goal just 1:20 into the contest that gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead.
Pulaski however responded, as Jose Delgado’s penalty kick with 27:14 remaining in the first half of play knotted things up at 1-1.
However, that would be the Maroons lone score of the night on an evening when Southwestern was bound and determined not let PC go 2-2 this year on the Warriors home turf.
“I felt like we looked a little tired tonight, and we don’t really have an excuse for performing like that,” stated PC coach Casey Inabnitt after the game.
“They moved some players around and had some guys not playing in their normal positions,” added the Maroons coach. “They had people sacrificing and playing a little defense, and it really paid off for them. Hats off to them because they worked their butts off tonight and picked up a win.”
For the Warriors, the 2013 season has certainly not gone the way McBride and company envisioned at the start of the season.
Southwestern limped into Tuesday night’s game against Pulaski County with a sub-.500 mark of 4-7-1 on the year, which included that 4-0 loss to PC back September 5th at Southwestern.
However, thanks to finally heeding their coach’s pleas to leave everything they had on the field, it was Southwestern picking up a much-needed win on Tuesday evening over the Maroons, splitting the regular season with the Maroons in two games.
“Their keeper made some great saves,” pointed out McBride. “We really should have had more than two tonight.”
“It just feels good to get a win,” McBride added. “I don’t even care that we won — I loved seeing that fight out there tonight that we had. Our guys knew that this team had already beaten them 4-0 this year, and they don’t like getting beat. For us, it’s just a matter of what kind of attitude we’re going to bring into the game.”
The Warriors are tentatively scheduled to host arch-rival Somerset this evening at The Plains, however that game may be canceled due to the fact the Jumpers are playing in the All A Boy’s State Soccer Tournament this weekend in Elizabethtown.
As for the Maroons, the loss to Southwestern dropped Inabnitt’s club to 6-5-1 on the year, and the Maroons will try to get back on track this evening on the road at Corbin.
With post season play looming just around the corner, Inabnitt pointed out he’s not terribly worried about the loss to Southwestern, but at the same time, the PC coach says it’s getting to that point of the year that teams have to start picking up their level of play.
“Honestly, if our team was peaking right now, I’d be a tad worried,” stated the PC coach.
“Obviously, we don’t want to be going the opposite way either, but if there’s a time to start getting it together, it’s now,” added Inabnitt. “We’ve still got just over two weeks left in the regular season, and I think we’ve got something like seven games left before the district tournament. We’ve got plenty of time to right the ship.”