Soccer Team Earns First Win

DSC_2190Senior Mark Howlett’s penalty kick in the second half proved to be the game winner as the Oaks varsity boys soccer sqaud earned their first victory of the young season, 4-3. Friday at Benedictine in Richmond.

Trey Ritter made some key saves in goal down the stretch as the Oaks saw a 3-0 halftime lead fade away.

The Oaks came out hot with high pressure, controlling the game, and jumping to the lead thanks to some through balls by Chris Bianchi that set up Michael Ortiz for a pair of goals. Howlett also scored unassisted in the first half. The Beck Bastion in back, Jonny and Chris Beck, were stalwart for the defense.

But the Cadets came back strong in a very physical second half drawing within a goal. Howlett’s penalty kick came after he was pulled down by the Benedictine keeper. He drilled his shot bottom left and the Oaks were able to hold on for their first win, after losing and drawing in their two previous contests.

“I think one of the things we’ve concentrated on this fall is being supremely fit,” Coach Kai Evans said. “That allowed us to hang on. We never looked tired.”DSC_3022

For Evans, a key early contest was the team’s 3-3 draw with Currituck in the season’s second game. The Oaks fell behind 3-0, playing poorly. Then, in the last 15 minutes, they poured in three goals. “We decided to buck up,” Evans said. “That was a huge character building game.”

Evans describes the team as having a group of good athletes learning the game along with a sprinkling of experienced soccer players. “Our mantra is ‘All in,’ ” he says. “It’s investing yourself in everything you do 100 percent. There’s a sense of great excitement if you win and some hurt and pain if you lose.”

Cape Henry and Norfolk Academy, according to Evans, will be the teams to beat in the TCIS, but he likes how his squad is improving.

“This group can run with anyone,” he added. “On any given day, I give this group a fighting chance.”

The team plays at 4 p.m. Tuesday at home against Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

About jimsravesnrants

Jim Morrison has flown barrel rolls with the Navy's Blue Angels (he didn't barf), climbed and slept overnight in a 243-foot-tall redwood (he didn't fall), and gone one-on-one with Muhammad Ali (he didn't flinch). His award-winning stories have appeared in Smithsonian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Private Clubs, This Old House, National Wildlife, Smart Money’s offspring, George, Context, Family PC, Good Housekeeping, Playboy, Biography, The Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Utne Reader, Southwest Spirit, the magazine of Southwest Airlines, and American Way, the magazine of American Airlines, among others. His web site is www.jmwriter.com

Posted on September 1, 2013, in soccer. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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