Looking at the final stat tallies for the varsity soccer Fighting Scots’ season opener against South View, it would appear that Scotland had the upper hand in the contest.
Thursday night, the Scots had 28 shots on goal compared with the Tigers’ 15 and dominated the time of possession for most of regulation. But South View made the most of the opportunities presented to them, and the result was a 4-0 victory over Scotland that didn’t indicate how close the game was in actuality.
“We played really good soccer and had several good chances, but we just didn’t capitalize,” said head coach Colin McDavid. “Our decision-making wasn’t the best, but that comes in time when my players gain more experience. We’ll definitely learn and build from this first game.”
From the early minutes of the game, Scotland relied on the breakaway speed of junior forward Keon Grant to help facilitate the offense. Grant found himself in numerous scoring situations at the onset, including a shot on goal at the nine minute-mark that missed near right. That opportunity was set up by junior midfielder Bill Killough, who hit a precise through-ball to Grant which gave him the open look at the net.
Scotland also controlled the tempo in the first half, and South View’s early scoring opportunities were thwarted by two consecutive great saves from Robert McMillian 10 minutes into the game. A strike from South View’s Kevan Foxx was deflected away from the net by the diving, outstretched arms of McMillian, who was playing in his first-ever regular season soccer match. Seconds later, Foxx would again attack the net, this time with a header that went soaring towards the top of the goal. McMillian would leave the ground and catch the ball with both hands to halt South View’s offensive flurry.
The rest of the first half saw the Fighting Scots battle into corner kick situations that would prove unsuccessful. A perfectly-timed cross from Afiz Lateef would give an attacking Grant another opportunity to break the 0-0 tie at the 30th minute, but the ball bounced just outside his reach.
Four minutes later, South View’s Cameron Harless would score after deflecting a laser strike off of McMillian’s hands into the back left corner of the net. South View would strike again at the 39th minute to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead heading into into the second half.
The game was effectively put away in the 52nd minute after Harless scored his second goal of the game, a strike from near midfield, to make the score 3-0. But Scotland continued to be aggressive on offense and maintained possession for a large portion of the half.
Senior defender Micah Stanton came extremely close to two goals of his own in the second half, including a accurate shot on goal that was setup by team co-captain Joe Sojka in the 63rd minute. The ball was barely deflected out of the goal by a fingertip save from the South View goalkeeper. A minute later, Stanton again would attack the net, this time sending an on-target strike that ricocheted off the left goal post for another near-miss.
And while he was largely a non-factor in the second half, Grant was granted Scotland’s final opportunity to break into the goal column in the 71st minute, hitting an on-target strike that sailed inches past the right corner of the net.
After the game, McDavid expressed optimism regarding the performance of his younger players.
“Stone Phillips and Jonathan Bowling made the most of their minutes tonight,” McDavid said. “I told my guys before the game that we’re playing varsity now, it’s a bigger stage than what they’ve gotten used to in the past. With that said, this team showed me that I have far more depth than I thought I did heading into the season.”