By Stephen Boyle - firstname.lastname@example.org
STEPHENS CITY -- Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy doesn't have any seniors, but the Patriots aren't short on talent. On Monday, the Patriots dominated possession against Mountain View Christian Academy on their way to a 5-0 victory.
"A win is always a good thing," SVCA coach Dustin Wheelock said. "At this point in the season there are good things we can pull from it."
The play of junior midfielder Austin Stover was certainly one of the positives for the Patriots. He netted three goals in the second half to post the second hat trick of his high school career. Stover's first hat trick came against Mountain View when he was a freshman.
"It's only my second hat trick ever so I was pretty excited about that," Stover said.
Mountain View kept the score close in the first half, despite being outshot by the Patriots. SVCA put eight shots on goal, while Mountain View had none. Sophomore goalkeeper Cole Higgs saved seven of those shots, but William Steele got one past him on a corner kick to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead at the half.
"We played really good defense in the first half," Mountain View coach Michael Harbin said.
However, the Conquerors couldn't get any offense going in the first half, so Harbin moved Jonathan Cornwell, the team's strongest kicker, from the defensive sweeper position to the offensive side of the ball.
In the second half Mountain View managed three shots on goal, but the defensive effort wasn't as strong.
"I thought we had a really hard time getting the ball on our offensive end," Harbin said.
Stover's three goals, and junior Nathaniel Illsley's steal and breakaway goal made the final score 5-0.
Wheelock was pleased with the team's ability to finish their shots in the second half, but he felt overall they didn't play as well -- despite the results on the scoreboard. SVCA had more trouble possessing the ball in the second half and didn't come out as aggressive, according to their coach.
Wheelock said he hopes the team, which is now 3-1 this season, will continue to get better from week to week. Wheelock knows he has a young team, but he doesn't want them to play with a "young mentality." That means they need to be aggressive for a full 90 minutes and keep their composer when they have control of the ball in the box.
He believes if the team continues to work on these little things, they'll be better by the end of the season and Stover agrees.
"Our team this year, I think, is going to be really good," Stover said. "Hopefully we're going to get a lot better toward the end of the year."