Outpouring of offense sends Raiders to win

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

Flores
Soto

HUNTINGBURG — It was a great day for soccer yesterday. Or at least, it would seem that way if you were on the Southridge soccer team.

The boys in black maneuvered effortlessly across the grass and put pressure on Mitchell to the tune of 42 shots once it was all said and done, as the Raiders defeated the Mitchell Blue Jackets 9-1 on Thursday evening.

Southridge head coach Ryan Wallace was excited by what he saw from his team, not only in their aggression but also in how they worked on a few kinks they had been trying to iron out after their last game against Tell City.

“I liked the way that we started both halves,” he said. “We’ve been working all week long, I wanted to see adjustments (from Tell City) done in this game. We tend to want to shoot at the 20, 18-yard-line instead of working the ball in. So what we’ve been working on is working on is that one extra pass. Get that one extra pass, get inside the 18 and finish. And that’s what we were doing a little bit of today.”

Wallace felt like his team had the advantage in terms of Southridge’s overall athleticism over Mitchell and that is what they used to dominate possession of the ball and create the shooting lanes that allowed so many shots on the Blue Jackets goal.

The scoring started early as sophomore Lucas Martinez worked the ball through a group of defenders to score the first goal for the Raiders (3-2, 1-1) at the 28:20 mark of the first half. They almost had another goal soon after the first, but junior Deniss Villalta, in his excitement of the opportunity, overshot the goal. But senior Diego Duron came back shortly after with a scalpel score that put Southridge ahead 2-0.

Senior Jonathan Escobar finished the team’s first third goal of the match when he snuck one past Mitchell senior goalie Seth Johnson with 22:58 left to play. There were more scoring opportunities, but the Raiders missed the rest of the shots they took against the Yellow Jackets. Still, they demonstrated superior control over the pace of the game and did not allow Mitchell to get into any kind of rhythm to mount a push.

The second half of the game played out the same way and it didn’t take long for the fireworks to start up again.
Senior Jeovany Dubon was able to get in close then use a bit on on-field savvy to lure Johnson out of the net and plant Southridge’s fourth goal square into the void. And just like clockwork Escobar came back again with another follow up volley to put the Raiders ahead 5-0 with over 37 minutes left to play in the second.

Junior Jeffery Echeverria clocked in goal number six before the Raiders went into a drought of sorts. For about 12 minutes they controlled the field of play, but weren’t able to turn that factor into more scores. They took the shots, but they simply did not find their mark. But just like the all-time great triggermen who have played sports across time and space, the team kept shooting and they eventually found their mark once again.

Senior Kevin Herrera broke up the drought with goal number seven at the 22:47 mark of the half. Senior Luis Flores brought it home with two straight scores to put Southridge ahead with a commanding 9-0 lead.

But to their credit, the Yellow Jackets never stopped fighting. They kept pushing and poking at the ball to get things going on their side, and finally sophomore Cameron Rayhill was able to break through and put Mitchell on the board.

It wasn’t enough to start any kind of rally effort. (he scored with about two-and-a-half minutes left), but it was something to cement the pride that Mitchell had in their efforts. Yes they were over matched, but they would not stop fighting.

Seven different players scored for Southridge, and Escobar and Flores led the team with two goals each.
“We did pretty good and our defense did alright,” said Flores. “Getting wide open and communicating on offense (helped us).”

“We were trying to keep possession and work on our triangle on offense,” added senior Jorge Soto. “We just kept switching the offense and kept getting open to try and receive some passes. We just kept looking for the open person. And when we had a chance to shoot, we shot it.”

Wallace couldn’t have been happier about his team’s offensive output. But he thinks the next step for the team will be learning how maximize those scoring opportunities when they present themselves, especially as the season goes on.

“We had nine goals, we shot 42 times,” said Wallace. “We look for ten shots on goal per half. I would just like us to finish a little better.”




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