FRONT ROYAL – Sherando’s boys soccer team got back on track Wednesday night.
The Warriors, who entered their Northwestern District match at Skyline on a two-game losing streak while netting just four goals in their first four games, finally broke out with an 8-0 rout of the Hawks that was shortened due to the mercy rule.
Seven different players scored a goal for Sherando in the victory, which improved the Warriors to 2-2-1 this season.
“We’ve been struggling to finish all season long so we finally put some nice combinations together, set pieces, little things like that,” Warriors coach Pat Anderson said. “We’ve been working on it, drilling it that it’ll come, it just takes it a while. And they looked to use each other, which is nice also.”
Sherando, which enjoyed a 24-6 shot advantage over Skyline (2-4), wasted little time converting on its first goal of the evening. Senior Mason Scott poked in a shot from about 5 yards out off a cross from teammate Seth Wade in the sixth minute to put the Warriors up 1-0.
Three minutes later, sophomore Max Polio sent a corner kick soaring into the middle of the penalty box, where it was headed into the net by junior defender Jacob Sites for a two-goal lead.
“I feel like once one goal gets scored then everyone just gets hype and then they just want to get the mentality of ‘we need to score,'” said Sites, the only Warrior to score twice in the victory. “That’s basically how I was going into it. I just felt like I was gonna be the only person getting to the ball on that. That’s what I wanted.”
The Hawks fought off further damage until the 26th minute, when they caught a bad break as a throw-in toward the goal from Sherando’s Nick Craig glanced off the arm of Skyline goalkeeper Stephen McInturff and into the net as the sophomore tried to swat the ball away from the goal line.
“It felt like (everything was going our way), to be honest,” Sites said. “God was with us.”
The ball would bounce Sherando’s way a couple more times in the first half.
With less than four minutes to play in the half, McInturff charged out of the net to attempt to clear the ball from the top of the box. His kick sent the ball immediately into the back of a teammate before it was gathered by Warriors senior Diego Arevalo, who rifled a shot into the open net to put Sherando up 4-0.
“I was surprised but, you know, I took advantage of it,” Arevalo said. “I went up, it was on my left foot, which is my weak foot, so I didn’t wanna choke. I had to focus, follow through and finish.”
Arevalo helped generate another goal in the closing minutes of the first half as he pushed the ball down the field before firing a shot from the top right corner of the box. McInturff – who finished with nine saves – made a diving stop, but Zach Poole – the fifth different Warrior to score a goal in the half – was there to gather the rebound and tap the ball into the net for a 5-0 lead.
“It was great. Everybody’s getting involved,” Arevalo said. “Everybody’s getting a chance to play and prove to themselves that they’re worth playing on this team.”
Wade scored a goal three minutes into the second half after McInturff saved his initial shot following a scramble in the box. Sites, off a Nathan Laing assist, fired in another goal from the top of the box with 24 minutes to play, and junior Sean Buono ended the match with 15 minutes remaining with Sherando’s eighth score.
“It was nice to actually get back on our feet and have that explosiveness that we had in the second half just to show that we can be explosive in that situation,” Sites said.
Sites also was part of Sherando’s starting defensive back line – along with seniors Travis Ferraro and Jack Flanagan and sophomore Jacob Crowley, and senior goalie Brandon Teets – that helped limit Skyline to just three shots over the final 56 minutes. Teets recorded one first-half save before giving way to Robert Berry in the second half.
“They’re having those guys finally starting to work together well, because that’s a whole new group from last year,” Anderson said of the defense. “Even the goalie, all back five of them are actually all new so that was a big plus for them to finally gel a little bit together, which is nice.”
Sherando returns to action Saturday at home against Turner Ashby, who beat the Warriors 2-1 last weekend. Skyline hosts Luray next Monday.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org