SVCA snaps losing streak

By Jim Laise – sports@nvdaily.com

STEPHENS CITY — Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy’s boys’ soccer team broke a three-game losing streak Tuesday by putting pressure on Randolph-Macon Academy early and then playing strident defense in the second half.

“We had played Mercersburg Academy, Washington High School, and then [Monday] night Carroll Christian. All of them are strong teams, especially Mercersburg, so I was happy that we came back today,” said SVCA coach Dustin Wheelock.

The 2-1 win was made possible by a plethora of Patriots, who attempted shots on goal. By striking eight balls in each respective half at the Yellow Jackets’ net in this non-district scrap, SVCA (4-3-1) was able to keep the pressure on R-MA (3-2) goalkeeper Douglas Brennand and his Yellow Jackets defenders, so that the ball was rarely in the Patriots’ territory.

Peter Harrison made a straight-away goal and teammate Steven Bell followed with a break-away score for SVCA, while Seonwood Chung collected the second-half goal for R-MA.

“Our defense really stepped up in the second half and we were helped by playing possession offense,” Bell said.

“We wanted to keep the pressure on in the second half, but our defense held its ground,” said Wheelock, “and, for the most part, kept them far away from our goal.”

Harrison’s goal started off the Patriots’ scoring in a game where the officials kept the clock on the field. He headed straight for the goal with the ball and put it opposite the Yellow Jackets’ keeper for the first goal of the day.

After their leading scorer had sent them ahead by one, the Patriots’ Bell scored on a runaway opportunity near the end of the half. His goal made it 2-0 and ultimately gave the Patriots all the points they would need.

“It was a well-played pass from [Morgan Beaty] and the ball glanced over one of the defender’s heads,” Bell said. “[The goalkeeper] over-corrected and that was enough to get my shot in.”

At halftime, R-MA coach Jeff Moxie pleaded with his team to be more aggressive and apparently the words paid off.

“I don’t know, maybe it was something I said, but, whatever, we came out and put a lot more shots at the goal,” Moxie said.

After only taking two shots on goal in the first half, the Yellow Jackets came back to list five goal-attempts in the second frame.

Even Moxie got into the act.

He was yellow-carded by the official for arguing a call, but just after the penalty was dropped, Randolph-Macon came back with its only goal of the day.

Chung connected from about 25 feet away from the goal to make it 2-1.

SVCA did enough to keep R-MA away from the goal for the most part, but with time running out, Moxie decided to move goalie Brennand to the offensive side of the field.

SVCA remained stout as a Yellow Jackets late shot was body blocked by an SVCA player to preserve the victory.

“We came out flat in the first half, but we made up for it in the second,” said Moxie. “If we had played as sharply in the first half, we might have had a better chance to win.

“They were like ’80-20′ [percent] at the goal in the first half, but we made five or six plays to get into it.”

Harrison had four shots-on-goal along with his score. SVCA’s Josh Smallwood attempted three goal kicks.