Sherando hands Millbrook first loss
STEPHENS CITY – Sherando boys soccer coach Pat Anderson said the Warriors suffered some setbacks defensively earlier in the season. The Warriors had no such trouble Thursday night against visiting Millbrook.
Sherando held the Pioneers’ high-powered offensive attack scoreless while senior Andrew Wade’s goal in the final minute of the first half proved the difference in the Warriors’ 1-0 Northwestern District/Conference 21 win.
The loss was the first of the season for Millbrook, while Sherando (7-2-2, 4-0-2 Conference 21) remained unbeaten in conference play.
“Just keeping our shape was the biggest thing, not to get unbalanced or let them unbalance us,” Anderson said of the Warriors’ defensive game plan against Millbrook. “That and just our work rate not to give them any space, hopefully. And they did it. They finally bought into it tonight. I was pleased.”
The Pioneers (8-1-1, 4-1-1) entered Thursday’s game averaging 4.7 goals per contest, but came up empty on seven shots against Sherando. Warriors senior goalkeeper Kevin Riley finished with three saves, but Millbrook also had a tough time generating scoring chances against a Sherando defensive back line comprised of the senior quartet of Rhett Morris, Travis Ferraro, Zach Wagner and Jov Hall.
“We’re just all really close in general, just as friends also, so it’s just nice to have that,” Hall said. “We all communicated really well, that was the key.
“We just tried to play our own game.”
With a blustery wind at their backs during the first 40 minutes of action, the Warriors came up empty on several shot attempts in the first half, including three misses from Wade and a header by Morris off a corner kick that just missed wide of the net. But Wade scored the game’s only goal with the final minute ticking down in the first half.
Wade, the Warriors’ leading scorer, gathered a long throw-in from Morris while being covered by two Millbrook defenders just inside the top of the penalty box and fired a lining left-footed shot as he slid to the turf. The ball caromed off the inside of the left post and into the net to give Sherando a 1-0 lead.
“I’d gotten into some good positions and really didn’t take advantage as much as I’d have liked to,” said Wade, who now has eight goals this season. “I just wasn’t feeling confident shooting the ball and a couple people said hey, just take a hit. The next time I got on the ball I just really looked for it and just came up on the top 18 and saw the back post. I’ve been working on my left foot and that’s how it came down.”
Hall said Wade’s goal gave Sherando some extra energy heading into halftime.
“That was ridiculous,” Hall said of Wade’s shot. “That was an amazing goal, possibly the goal of the season. Of course anything like that is going to give us a boost.”
Although Sherando was working against the wind for most of the second half, the Warriors still managed to fire 11 shots (17 total in the match) over the final 40 minutes. The Warriors came up empty on all 11, but limited Millbrook to five shot attempts in the second half and seven in the match.
Pioneers coach Keith Kilmer attributed most of Millbrook’s offensive struggles to the team’s lack of enthusiasm.
“I honestly think that the team that wanted it the most won the game today,” Kilmer said. “My guys didn’t play inspired. They didn’t play like they’ve been playing through the season, for whatever reason. And that’s not taking anything away from Sherando. I thought they played very inspired ball. I was impressed with them and they worked hard. They got the result they worked for and we got the result we worked for.”
Thursday’s match didn’t count toward the final Conference 21 standings that will determine seeding for the tournament, as only the second game between the two schools will hold weight in that regard. Both teams will meet again in Sherando’s regular-season finale on May 12 at Millbrook.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org