Written by Coach Al Hing:
Plymouth Christian Academy Middle School soccer fought hard against the Oakland Christian School in a scrappy match to a 2-5 loss on Thursday.
While still learning the strengths of each teammate and showing great development into a team in the first half, the Oakland Christian Crusaders jumped to a 3 goal lead. The depth of the defense slowed numerous attacks and the midfield and attackers began to develop a rhythm for a transition fight. Numerous Oakland attacks were met with hard fought gritty defense anchored by Ryan Andres and John Harju, with transition to the midfield led by brother-sister Micah to Alivia Lavigne transitions and very aggressive attacks by Aiden Raffety with a large presence of Kyle Quick to bring the score to 2-3 score at half. Great contributions were part of the two-goal comeback as selfless play and controlled passing sliced through the Lancer defense.
“This team showed so much grit to come back and fight for every possession, for every loose ball, and that two-goal push is the embodiment that will carry us forward,” said Coach Al Hing, Plymouth Christian Middle School Soccer coach. “The spark that lights the flame that will show us the way as a team, that’s happening right here and now.”
While winded and having a goal deficit to climb at the half, the Eagles were enthusiastic and very positive of their quick goals scored and a gelling defensive posture.
As the second half of the match continued, fatigue set in and the Eagles struggled to maintain their attacking pressure. The much improved defense showed a slight crack to the Oakland team that was exploited for a quick goal, as the penalty kick for the Crusaders doubled the deficit. Despite being down, several Eagle players significantly pushed themselves to stem the tide of the Oakland attacks and quickly transition. William Zhuang, Connor Cutshall, and Zachary Blume all came to the front to work hard to continue the slicing attacks into the Oakland defense. Opportunities to cut the deficit came wave upon wave, and the Eagle team pushed all their physical reserves to make the next goal, but the Oakland goalkeeper stood tall and denied attack after attack. On a rare transition mistake, the Oakland team found the back of the Eagle net again to tally the final score at 2-5.
“There’s so many good things that we can build on, and make the team better,” said Coach Hing, “We have work to do, we will get better, and the areas to improve, we’ll get them too, and you’ll know that this is an Eagle team.”
Contributions across the Eagle team from young players, to relative newcomers to their positions, to other sports oriented capabilities, all made contributions that hold great promise for the team.