Warriors shut out Colonels

STEPHENS CITY – The offense couldn’t have gotten going any quicker for Sherando’s boys soccer team than it did on Tuesday night against visiting James Wood in the quarterfinal round of the Conference 21 tournament.

Warriors senior Tommy Buono scored off teammate Andrew Wade’s opening kickoff against the Colonels, and top-seeded Sherando rolled to a 5-0 win to advance to Friday’s semifinal round in which they will host rival Millbrook.

“You draw it that way but in all my years it hasn’t happened very often,” Warriors coach Pat Anderson said. “That’s two quality guys just getting at it, so it made it look like we were smart for once, as coaches, which doesn’t happen very often.”

Buono, who notched his third hat trick of the season on Tuesday night, got things rolling quickly for Sherando (13-2-2) when he chased down Wade’s kickoff that sailed all the way into the middle of the box. James Wood goalkeeper Cole Morris opted to charge the incoming ball and found himself out of position, offering Buono a wide-open shot at the net that he turned into a 1-0 Warriors lead about 10 seconds into the match.

“We usually play it to the corner and Andrew just launched it up there,” Buono said.

Andrew Wade struck for a goal of his own less than three minutes later off an assist from Seth Wade, and that two-goal lead held until Buono scored a second time off an Andrew Wade assist in the 31st minute. Buono started the goal-scoring set play with a tap to Andrew Wade on a corner kick, and Wade passed the ball back to Buono as he reached the top corner of the penalty box. Buono worked his way back toward the middle of the field before firing a shot from 18 yards out.

“We got more opportunities, like quality opportunities. There’s still a couple chances we should’ve got but their keeper was playing such a high line that it kind of threw us off a little bit,” Anderson said. “But again, just then coming together and they’re working with each other also.”

Sherando, which has already earned a Region 4A North berth, padded its lead 10 minutes into the second half as Jake Adams got a piece of a throw-in by teammate Zach Wagner that resulted in a score. Wagner tallied another assist later in the match when he sent a long ball to Buono, who raced down the field and converted the 5-yard shot for the game’s final goal with 19 minutes remaining.

Despite the five goals, Buono said he thought the Warriors could’ve done a better job of converting more of its shot opportunities against the Colonels (3-14). Sherando fired 22 shots total in the victory, compared to six shots from James Wood.

“I think we could’ve done a lot better but we just need to do the little things better, like our one-two touches down, playing the way we face, stop dribbling,” Buono said. “At the end of the day we got our chances in but hopefully we can learn from our mistakes.”

Tuesday’s win marked Sherando’s third victory over the Colonels this season, and it was the second straight time the Warriors have shut out James Wood.

“It’s hard to beat anybody three times,” Anderson said. “They’re good on their set pieces and restarts and we gave up a couple of sloppy balls in the box, but overall I thought we did a good job containing them and keeping them out of the box for the majority of the game.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com