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Pioneers top rival Colonels

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By Shaun Broy - sports@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- The James Wood boys soccer team had a lot riding on Tuesday night's match against Millbrook, while the Pioneers would tell you that the game had some major implications for them as well.

A win by the Colonels (6-5-1 overall, 4-2 Northwestern District) would have moved them ahead of Handley into first place in the Northwestern District standings with just two games remaining in the regular season.

In the end, James Wood had to settle for a loss and remain in second place in the district as the Pioneers snatched a 2-1 overtime victory over the Colonels.

"We've won pretty, We've lost, and tonight we had an ugly win," Pioneers coach Keith Kilmer said. "We'll take it."

Of course, it wasn't a surprise to see the match go into overtime; after all, Millbrook was on the field and the Pioneers seem to have a thing for playing 90 minutes of soccer instead of the regular 80 minutes.

"We don't know how to play just 80 minutes," Kilmer said. "This was like our fifth or sixth overtime game in a row."

The Colonels may be down, but they are far from out. Their fate is in their own hands, as they control their own destiny. If James Wood can win its final two games of the season against Skyline and the current district leader Handley, the Colonels will be the team hoisting the district championship trophy in the end.

The Pioneers (8-4-2 overall, 3-2-2 Northwestern District) were fighting for more than just bragging rights. The win positioned Millbrook securely in the third-place spot in the district standings, put them within reach of second place in the district and kept them out of the district play-in game for the tournament.

The Colonels exploded right out of the box and played with a type of urgency that put them a half step ahead of the Pioneers most of the first half of play. Millbrook did not come out flat, but the Pioneers weren't showing quite the same intensity of James Wood. The Colonels created more opportunities, utilizing their speed to advantage to go aggressively at the Millbrook net.

The Pioneers hadn't created many opportunities to put them in position to take a quality shot at the goal until the 26th minute of play, when junior Edgar Trujillo threaded a needle of a pass through a gaggle of defenders in front of the net, right to the foot of Santiago Sanchez. The freshman then made contact with the ball and nailed a shot into the bottom right corner of the net to put Millbrook on the board.

Matthew Henriques set the pace and tempo of the game for James Wood. The senior bulldozed his way towards the Millbrook net, using pure strength, skill and determination to make numerous runs towards the net in the first half, but he and his team headed into the half empty-handed.

"It was his game to shine, but his supporting cast helped make things happen," James Wood coach Chris Hild said. "I really have to give credit to my defense as well."

The second half of play resumed with the Colonels controlling most of the field of play. They kept heavy pressure on the Miillbrook defense and goalkeeper Caleb Schneider.

As time ticked away, so did James Wood's opportunities to hit the back of the net. It looked as if the Pioneers were going to hold on for the win, as the game clock ticked to less than two minutes to play in regulation.

That's when Henriques made one last run up the field for the Colonels and sent a perfectly timed pass to senior Josh Marts, who put the ball in the net to tie the score a one goal apiece with just seconds left to play in regulation to send the game into overtime.

The two teams traded opportunities in the opening few minutes of play during the first overtime period. Then the whistle blew and a foul was called on the Colonels due to contact inside the box, which sent senior Stuart Hupp to the line for a penalty kick. He capitalized on the opportunity and put the ball in the net, which put the Pioneers up 2-1 and they never looked back.

The Colonels outshot the Pioneers 14-7 on the night.

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