STRASBURG — Strasburg suffered four losses to Shenandoah County rival Central last soccer season. On Wednesday, the Rams turned the tables on their rivals.
Strasburg junior Chris Davis scored on a penalty kick as the Rams topped the Falcons 1-0 in Bull Run District action.
“It feels so good,” Davis said. “It feels amazing, beating Central is amazing. I don’t think we’ve beat them in school history. So this is a big win. It feels amazing. I think this is probably my favorite game throughout my high school career.”
Strasburg Athletic Director said he may have been the first time in program history that Strasburg beat Central in boys soccer, but he wasn’t positive on that.
Both teams had chances to score, but couldn’t cash in the defensive battle.
The shots were pretty even in the first half with neither team finding the back of the net. Strasburg had the two best chances in the first half.
Strasburg’s Anthony Atchariyakornchai hit a shot that hit the top of the crossbar and bounced straight down and away from the goal with about 20 minutes left in the opening half.
Central goalkeeper Wade Gochenour made a stellar diving save on a shot from Strasburg’s Nolan Froemel with about eight minutes left in the opening half to keep the game scoreless.
“I thought we came out a little tight in the first half,” Strasburg boys soccer coach Betsy Munson said. “We really kind of got away from our possession game, and they knew that our strength was in the middle of the field. We know each other very well. I didn’t feel like we were playing to our potential in the first half.”
Munson said her team did a better job hitting the players on the wings in the second half and it paid off.
The Rams (1-0, 1-0 Bull Run) controlled the possession and outshot the Falcons in the second half.
Early in the second half, Froemel was taken down in the penalty box area giving the Rams a penalty kick. Munson said she had confidence in Davis to take the shot.
“We haven’t really worked on penalty kicks but one day,” Munson said. “And so I didn’t have a set person yet. And so the guys were sort of like ‘who should take it?’ And some of the guys said ‘let Chris take it.’ And I’m like I have every bit of confidence in Christopher. So he just nailed it. So I’m really really proud of him.”
Davis stepped up and drilled the shot in the lower right corner past Gochenour to give the Rams a 1-0 lead with 31 minutes left in the game.
“I got the ball up there, I was trying to see where the best spot was for my foot, because there’s a lot of dirt patches,” Davis said. “But I just kind of picked a corner and went at it. ...It felt so good to go up, especially against Central. It felt amazing.”
The Falcons (0-1, 0-1 Bull Run) had a few chances after that, but weren’t able to put any shots in the back of the net.
“We knew going in Strasburg’s going to be one of our top competitors in the district,” Central boys soccer coach John Trelawny said. “So we knew it was going to be a battle, we knew that going in. They did a good job of absorbing pressure, both teams did throughout the game. It was kind of a defensive battle. Both teams created opportunities. But it’s like I told my guys, when you play the best teams in the district you’ve got to take advantage of your chances and Strasburg did that.”
Central hosts reigning Class 2 state champion Clarke County on Friday. The Falcons have a tough schedule to start the season, but Trelawny said it could help the team in the long run.
“It could show us where we matchup the first half of the season, and allow us to sort some things out,” Trelawny said. “And hopefully by the time we come back to the second half of the schedule we’re a much better team, much improved because of the tests we faced early on.”
Munson said she was pleased with how the defense played on Wednesday.
“I was really proud of the defense,” Munson said. “Any time you can get a shutout of Central — it’s hard to do. So we were able to hold them off. So I’m really happy about that.”
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