By Jeff Nations
STEPHENS CITY -- It's a good sign for a program when the head coach is searching for a catchy nickname instead of reliable scoring.
Shenandoah Valley Academy first-year boys soccer coach Norbert Jedamski has been working on a catchphrase to describe his two Brazilian strikers, David Cesar and Breno Maia. Here's what he's settled on.
"We played with two strikers, and both are explosive," Jedamski said. "It's what I call the double-trouble strikers. Many teams play with one, we play with two."
The Stars got scoring contributions from both on Thursday against Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy, as Cesar notched a pair of goals and Maia had a goal and an assist in SVA's 3-1 victory.
Cesar and Maia are just two of five Brazilians new to the team this year -- the other three didn't play Thursday -- and have helped SVA start off the season with a 3-1 mark so far.
"They're very quick," SVCA coach Dustin Wheelock said. "They play the counter-attack really well, and they win loose balls. That's what really hurt us."
SVCA (7-3-1) jumped out to a quick lead, when top scorer Nathanael Illsley -- no nickname available -- gathered in a centering pass from Chris Mason in the center and slipped a shot past Stars goalkeeper Trace Wilkens inside the left post to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the game.
Cesar returned the favor 13 minutes later, when Maia found him in the box and he sliced a shot across the net and into the left corner to beat Patriots goalkeeper Tanner Foster.
"When he gets open, he's got a rocket of a leg," Jedamski said of Cesar. "I mean, he hammers that thing in there."
In the first half, the Patriots did a solid job of controlling the action and outshot SVA, 8-6. The final 40 minutes were played much more to the Stars' liking, which became apparent just three minutes into the second half.
SVA's Seth Fogg set up the go-ahead goal with a deft long ball into the box, where Maia outraced a defender to gain possession and chipped a shot over Foster's head for the goal.
Six minutes after that, Cesar flashed dazzling ball control when he gathered in a loose ball in the penalty area before juking three SVCA defenders and tapping another shot past Foster for the goal.
"It's a good experience to play against this team," Cesar said through a translator. "It was a hard game, but we came out with the victory and that's all that matters."
Illsley said SVCA simply played into its opponents' strength in the second half.
"We weren't really playing our style, which is possession -- not just kicking it downfield," Illsley said. "We just couldn't get into that possession style that we like to play."
Down two goals, the Patriots stepped up their attack over the final 15 minutes. Austin Stover produced a pair of dangerous chances, but Wilkens knocked away both to preserve the lead. Wilkens finished with eight saves, six in the second half. SVCA outshot SVA, 10-6, in the second half.
"He's an awesome player and he saved us today," Jedamski said. "They fired a lot of shots at him."
Wheelock said the Patriots have been missing injured defender Morgan Beaty, and it showed against the Stars. Mainly, though, SVCA just didn't play its style.
"I felt like in the first half we created a lot more chances, and really should have finished," Wheelock said. "But in the second half, we really became frustrated with one another and just abandoned that mentality. So that was disappointing, but also good at the same time because that's what we have games like this for at this time of year -- so we can learn those types of things."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com>. Follow on Twitter @J_NationsNVD