The Southwestern Warriors boys soccer team kicked off their season in a home match up against George Rogers Clark on Tuesday night. They put away the visitors with the lopsided score of 6-1, however the game was played much tighter than the score would indicate.
The Warriors jumped to a quick start behind Colin Miller’s drive down the left side. He cut towards the middle and ripped the back of the net after just three and a half minutes of play. The rest of the half was largely uneventful with a lot of midfield play and the occasional break away and shot by each team until Miller placed a perfect cross to Timothy Jones who missed it wide with seconds left in the half. Southwestern would complete the half with a 1-0 lead.
Then the flood gates opened. Dylan Stevens connected with Jagger Keller, who finished a header off of a cross from the left corner for his first goal of the night. Ten minutes later Timothy Jones cleaned up a ball in traffic to score his first and would do the exact same thing a few minutes later with eighteen minutes left in the game.
Down 4-0, the George Rogers Clark offense finally found the goal when senior Wade Carrington sent a 30 yard free kick over SWHS keeper Caleb Seward’s head. More on Caleb in a moment.
In the last ten minutes of the game, the Warriors offense finally found their stride. Though the Warriors were having success with their opportunities up front the GRC squad managed to keep the ball on Southwestern’s side of the field for the majority of the second half.
The home team was able to add two more goals in the final minutes. Keller Jagger scored his second off of his own penalty kick that the keeper deflected. Collin Miller also found the net one more time with a rip from the left side in the final minute, capping the 6-1 victory.
If there were a ‘man of the match’ in high school games, it would undoubtedly go to the Warriors sophomore keeper. With almost seventy-five percent of the second half being played on the Warriors side, Caleb Seward was a veritable wall. He recorded double digit saves in the second half alone and withstood multiple penalties by his defenders just outside the box. The aggressive keeper took ball after ball, coming off his line to push the ball up the field multiple times. Coach Sean McBride could be overheard telling his team to “thank Seward” for a lot of saves. This game came down to George Rogers Clark’s inability to penetrate ‘the wall’ that was Caleb Seward on the goal line just as much as it came down to the Warriors’ ability to finish.
The SWHS coach was about as critical as one can be after a 6-1 victory, saying “This wasn’t how we have typically been playing over this summer. We want to pressure the ball up top with our mids and strikers and we didn’t do that well tonight. We were booming the ball all over the place.”
“We did capitalize on some breakaways,” McBride stated. “Tim Jones’ entire career he’s been there for rebounds. He scores more goals just because he’s in the right place at the right time.”
Coach McBride capped it off by saying, “There’s just a lot of stuff mentally we need to figure out and we’ve got to play smarter defensively.”
The Warriors will get the opportunity to build on their first performance when they travel to Whitley County Thursday, Aug. 16.