Boys Soccer Finishes Strong Back to Blog »
After a slow start to the season, the Westside Christian Boys Soccer team wrapped up the year on a 6-game unbeaten streak, punctuated by a 2-1 victory over No. 4 De La Salle North on Friday. That victory capped off a week in which the Eagles defeated No. 14 Gervais and tied No. 9 OES to bring their overall season record to 6-6-1.
“We’re a young team, with only one senior this season, so I think with a bunch of guys adjusting to new and bigger roles, it took us a while to get going,” head coach Jeff Spiegel said. “But I know that at this point in the season, after the way we finished, there’s not a team in the state that would have wanted to see us in the playoffs next week.”
Unfortunately, despite the strong finish, the Eagles will just miss out on the playoffs as a result of playing in one of the toughest leagues in the state. As it stands, Special District 1 boasts 4 of the top 15 teams in the state, leaving the No. 22 Eagles on the outside looking in.
In Friday’s game against De La Salle, the Eagles were motivated by Josiah Vermillion — the team’s lone senior — who was playing in his final game on senior night. With a newfound confidence as a result of recent success, the Eagles came out strong and got on the board early thanks to a brilliant free kick play from about 30-yards out on the left side. With juniors Nain Emery and Mason Lunz standing over the ball, Emery faked taking the kick and sprinted to the corner, where Lunz found him wide open with a through ball. After one quick touch, Emery placed a perfect left-footed cross to the back post — just over the goalkeepers hands — where junior Grant Gardner overpowered his defender to knock the ball into the back of the net.
Heading into halftime with just a one goal lead, the Eagles knew they needed to maintain the pressure in order to keep the Knights (23 goals in their previous 4 games) in check. About 10 minutes into the second half, the Eagles struck again — on another free kick, as Lunz lasered a ball from 30 yards out into the corner of the net, just off the hands of the opposing keeper.
The Knights would get one back with 10 minutes remaining in the game on a penalty kick to cut the lead to 2-1, but from that point forward, the Eagles were able to shut them down and preserve the victory.
“This was such a great win for our program,” Spiegel said. “Just for these sophomores and juniors to know heading into next season that they’re capable of playing with — and beating — the best teams in the state is huge for us.”