Thursday, December 17, 2009
MA boys begin first soccer season
By BARRY BURLESON
Marshall Academy kicked off its inaugural boys soccer season with a win.
The Patriots beat the Lee Colts 3-2 December 1 in overtime at Clarksdale.
“In the first half we were really outplayed and had a lot of confusion as to what was going on, but this was to be expected being the first game,” said coach Lance McGregor.
The contest was tied 1-1 at the half thanks to Chase Smith’s goal with an assist from Jake Delashmit.
“At the half we just talked about settling down and being a little more aggressive,” McGregor said. “Our defense really stepped up in the second half and Kendall Harris started getting a grasp of what to do in the goal.
He praised the strong defense of Chad Mitchell, Hank Owens, Kasey Shaw, Drew Rappa and Wood Morris.
In the second half, Neil Murphy connected in the top corner of the net to give Marshall the lead.
“Unfortunately they connected with 10 seconds left in the game to force overtime,” McGregor said.
On penalty kicks Delashmit shut out Lee and the Patriots got scores from Mitchell and Smith.
“It’s always nice to get a win but to do it in our first game did a lot for the guys’ confidence,” the coach said. “It’s just really nice to see them go out and compete, have a good time, and believe in themselves.
Player of the game honors went to Delashmit, McGregor said.
The Pats then fell 1-0 to Lee Academy at home December 14 in a rematch.
“In all honesty we dominated the game,” McGregor said. “There is a lot of truth in the statement you’re most improvement comes between the first game and the second. We did a great job of working together and communicating. However, we missed out on several opportunities and just missed on numerous shots.
“Our defense was very impressive but they didn’t have to do a whole lot as we kept the ball on their end the majority of the game.”
He said Murphy showed a lot of improvement from the first game to the second, and Delashmit and Smith “did a great job of bringing the ball up and giving us scoring opportunities.”
He said Shaw played a great game on defense and Harris did not allow a goal.
“It was nice to see Wood Morris get out and get aggressive,” McGregor said. “He’s really understanding the game and doing a nice job of getting the ball up to our playmakers. I ask a lot out of Hank (Owens) and Chad (Mitchell), but they play with a lot of effort.”
The game went to a shootout in a 0-0 tie and Lee hit some shots in a good location. Marshall could not quite find the net. Smith hit MA’s only shot.
“This is just a really good group of guys and they show a lot of character,” McGregor said.
Heritage came out and scored two quick goals in the first five minutes of the match Thursday and went on to the 3-0 win in Columbus.
“You could tell we were intimidated by their ball handling skills at first, however after those two goals, we figured out we had the team to play them a competitive match,” he said.
MA shut out the opponent for the remainder of the first half and for the first 30 minutes of the second half before Heritage finally made its third and final goal.
McGregor said after Harris settled down, he played a great game and had some really nice saves.
“Also we were able to get Tyler Berry some minutes in goal the last eight minutes of the game and he had four saves on four shots,” he said. “That should prove to be some valuable experience. I thought the defense did an exceptional job. I was really pleased with the intensity that Hank Owens, Jake Delashmit, and Chase Smith played with.”
He said the the offense is really struggling at the moment, but “Neil Murphy is starting to catch on and I look for him to be a major scorer as the season advances.
“Another player I look for to step up is Chase Carpenter. He was a late addition and has yet to earn his minutes. Kasey Shaw did an incredible job on defense, especially getting the ball out of the box.
“Overall we played tough and continue to learn. Everyone is just improving so quickly, we just have to slow it down and play as a unit, but that will come with time.”
The Patriots, a Class AA member of the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools, ventured to Oxford Friday night to face Lafayette County, a member of Class 4A in the Mississippi High School Activities Association.
Marshall dropped a 7-1 decision.
“We came out with a good mindset,” McGregor said. “We allowed two goals in the first half on mistakes on defense. On their second goal, they had a throw-in and we actually headed it into our own goal to give them a 2-0 advantage.”
Delashmit had a breakaway at the 33-minute mark and was fouled in the box and connected on his penalty kick to make it 2-1. That was the margin going into the half.
“I was really pleased with the way we competed but we could have been a little more physical,” he said. “In the second half we started to wear down and got caught out of position on several occasions.
The Commodores scored five goals in the second half.
“We missed on a couple of opportunities and we have to correct some of the smaller things but we’ll get there,” McGregor said. “The guys are playing hard and are learning on the go, so overall they have performed well thus far.”
He said Lafayette is the favorite to win its division, “so to go out and compete with them for 50 minutes says a lot about our guys.”
“Jake Delashmit and Hank Owens really played huge for us tonight. Those two guys really step up to the competition. Kasey Shaw saved us on several breakaways by Lafayette also. We really do have to do a better job of stopping the opposition’s progress down the field.”
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