WOODSTOCK – Central’s boys soccer team gets a bit of an extended spring break while not scheduled to return to action until April 23 against Clarke County. The Falcons made sure they took some momentum into their layoff.
Central picked up its second straight win on Monday night with a 6-0 win over Bull Run District foe Madison County, a team that limped into the contest still looking for its first win while being outscored 32-2.
The Falcons, who improved to 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the district with the victory, scored in the first three minutes of the contest, held a comfortable four-goal lead at halftime and coasted into their spring break.
“The goal was to get the win, obviously,” said Falcons senior Victor Burgwald, who scored Central’s third goal of the first half on a corner kick in the 28th minute. “We did a little research on how they were doing as a team but no matter what, we always try to walk in like we’re playing the best team. Any time you let up, that’s when you start to allow goals on you. We definitely wanted to go in, get the win and then that would allow us to have good momentum going into the break.”
Monday’s win was the second in a row after a two-game losing streak for the Falcons, members of the Virginia High School League’s Class 2 who will bump up to Class 3 next year. They have played most of their games to this point against Class 3 and Class 4 programs.
One of Central’s three losses this season came in a 1-0 defeat to Woodgrove, a Class 4 school, on April 8. The Falcons also fell 1-0 to Class 3 Turner Ashby in their season opener (they avenged that loss with a 3-2 overtime win over the Knights last week), and another loss came to Class 2 power George Mason on the road. Central also twice beat Fort Defiance (Class 3) by a combined score of 5-1.
Falcons head coach Ted Poor, whose team came within a win of qualifying for the state tournament in 2018, said he was “ecstatic” about what his team has accomplished so far this spring, and junior forward/midfielder Landon Shockey said he too was encouraged by Central’s performance.
“I think we’ve done really well,” said Shockey after notching a hat trick against Madison County. “We’ve played some tough teams and we’ve really done well with those teams. I think it made us better for the rest of the season.”
It didn’t take long for Central to get on the board Monday night, as sophomore Dylan Summitt scored three minutes into the action to put the Falcons ahead.
Too much dribbling, Poor said, limited the Falcons’ offensive output for the rest of the game’s first 15 minutes, but Central’s offense came to life and scored three more goals in the first half after it corrected itself to play more to its head coach’s liking.
Central, which outshot the Mountaineers 25-6, did get a pair of fortunate bounces in the win.
Burgwald’s goal on a first-half corner kick came after Madison goalkeeper Brian Metz made a leaping play to bat the ball away as it sailed across the penalty area and ended up knocking the ball across the goal line. The Falcons’ first goal of the second half came when Shockey’s header bounced off the head of a Madison defender and into the net.
Central also misfired on a couple of one-on-one chances that could’ve ended the Abomatch early via the mercy rule in the final 20 minutes of the contest.
“I think our communication and passing just need to get a little bit better,” Shockey said of the areas in need of improvement, “then I think we’ll be top-notch.”
The Falcons’ offense hasn’t needed to be flawless so far this season with a defense that is allowing just over a goal a game. Sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Fletcher tallied five saves in what was his third shutout of the season on Monday night. Sophomore Alexis Lopez, senior Sam Higgs, freshman Brandon Gwyn and juniors Johnathan Cardoso and Jordan Hoover saw a bulk of the action on Central’s back line against Madison County.
“We had to rebuild the defense this year,” Poor said. “I don’t have one defensive player back (from last season) and I am terribly pleased with what the boys have done. We’ve got three clean sheets with a brand-new defense.
“The thing that makes us, I think, a good team is the fact that I’ve got such flexibility. There are numerous players who can play multiple positions so that I can take a forward and pull him back on defense, a defender and put him up on the wing mid. There’s just a lot of talent and a lot of flexibility that I’ve never had.”
That flexibility has helped Central cope with what Poor said has been a “slew” of injuries through the season’s first half. On Monday night, the Falcons were without junior Gerson Sorto Lopez – who entered the game tied with Shockey for the team lead in goals scored – and fellow team captain Trenton Hitt, as well as sophomore Juan Rojas Bonilla.
“It’s been rough this season with injuries, but I think we’ve done pretty good for what we have on the bench,” Burgwald said. “We’ve had a lot of players step up off the bench and really show that they want to play and that they want to be on the team.”
The number of injuries hasn’t affected the Falcons’ rapport, Poor said.
“The boys are playing really well, good chemistry,” Poor said. “And this is the first year I’ve had boys that all played travel. I think it shows on the field. I’m excited about the prospects for the rest of the season, I really am.”