Hawks, Bulldogs end in tie
FRONT ROYAL — It took Skyline’s boys soccer team a half to start executing what it wanted to offensively against visiting Luray on Monday evening. But when the Hawks finally executed, they found success.
Skyline rallied from a one-goal halftime deficit with second-half scores by sophomore Michael Smith and senior Justin Haggerty, but the Bulldogs managed to put a late goal into the back of the net as the Hawks tied Luray, 2-2.
No overtime period was played because it was a non-conference/non-district game.
“We did what we talked about beforehand. It finally sunk in and they got the idea what we wanted to do and what we needed to do – spreading the ball out,” Hawks first-year coach Steve Carey said of Skyline’s second half performance.
“For some reason it wasn’t working in the first half, but things seemed to click in the second half.”
Skyline (1-1-1) was blanked in the first half despite firing nine shots, but was more effective in its attack in the second, mainly using deep through balls to create scoring chances.
The Hawks nearly generated goals on two opportunities early in the second half on long through balls to Haggerty through the middle of Luray’s (0-0-1) defense, but Bulldogs keeper Aaron Jenkins (nine saves) thwarted both attempts.
Skyline finally broke through for a goal in the 54th minute, when Smith settled the ball in the top right corner of the penalty box before rifling a shot past the outstretched arms of Jenkins and into the left side of the net to tie the score at 1-1.
“I was looking for the cut around the defender,” Smith said. “I cut to the left and took my shot. It was there.”
Haggerty, who came up empty on several shots throughout the match, scored the go-ahead goal in the 62nd minute. Haggerty’s goal — his third of the season — came off a long throw-in by senior Gerren Butler, who heaved the ball deep into the box, where Haggerty was waiting alongside Smith near the right post.
“Gerren’s throw-ins are pretty lethal,” Haggerty said. “You’ve just got to anticipate where it’s going to go and you’ve got to get the positioning right. It wasn’t a pretty goal. It was just a tap in, but a goal’s a goal.”
Luray, which hasn’t won a match since the 2012 season, was able to even the score in the 72nd minute when senior midfielder Forest Goebel pushed the ball down the field, bolted right through three Skyline defenders and uncorked a 10-yard shot past Hawks keeper Matthew Duggan (five saves).
“It’s taken us three years to build this team,” Bulldogs coach Derek Goebel said. “We’ve got a lot of talent out there. We’ve got some great kids, we’ve got some great athletes and they put it together tonight.
“We answered back and they wanted it, and that’s the key. They wanted it.”
Luray’s first goal of the night came off the foot of Robert Van Wyck, who chipped a 20-yard shot over Duggan’s head following cross pass from teammate Joel Osborne.
Skyline held a 24-8 advantage in shots, including a 15-5 edge over the final 40 minutes, and narrowly missed scoring a goal in stoppage time in the first half when William Moran’s shot was deflected by Jenkins up into the crossbar, the ball nearly crossing the goal line as it came back down to the turf before Jenkins covered it.
“Their defensemen were stout, very strong up front at the stance,” said Carey, whose Hawks host Northwestern District rival Handley tonight. “We probably should’ve run a couple more, quicker through balls. We would’ve benefited from that.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com