The Mt. Zion boys soccer seniors and members of their families pose together for a photo before a 5-1 senior day win against Warrensburg-Latham/Maroa-Forsyth.
By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion boys soccer team started its season 2-2 picking up wins against Argenta-Oreana and Warrensburg-Latham/Maroa-Forsyth and losing against Washington and Normal West.
Against Warrensburg-Latham/Maroa-Forsyth, the Braves controlled possession for a majority of the game. The Braves offense got multiple cracks to score in the opening minutes, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Cardinal freshman goalkeeper
Nick Sliney made 13 saves throughout the game in just his third varsity start of his career.
In the 25th minute, the Braves offense opened scoring. Hayden Shumaker passed the ball over the top to Zach Harvey who shot the ball low into the left-corner to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.
The Braves added another goal in the 31st minute. Kam Clark took a shot that went off the crossbar that Evan Griffith rebounded and headed into the back of the net to make the score 2-0.
The Braves defense contained the Cardinals’ offense. Matthew Platzbecker and Brayden Traxler anchored the defense and controlled the ball in the defensive half and made deflections to help contain the Cardinals’ offense.
“They’re playing well together right now,” Head coach Scott Crawford said. “We’re still picking and choosing to see who’s gonna play center and outside back.”
However, the Braves’ defense had a miscue off a bad touch and Cardinals midfielder Brock Richards found the ball. Richards shot the ball from 20-yards out that hit the right spot to score the lone Cardinal goal of the night.
The Braves’ offense came alive in the 45th minute. Hayden Shumaker scored two goals within 30 seconds of one another. The first one Shumaker rebounded a shot that went off the crossbar that he fired right down the middle of the net. The second one came when Shumaker flicked the ball over the Cardinal goalkeeper and then finished off the play with a goal to give the Braves a 4-1 lead.
Clark scored the final goal for the Braves three minutes later. Clark gathered a pass and then kicked the ball over his head into the back of the net.
“We have to keep moving the ball, keep sharing the ball and keep working for each other off the ball,” Coach Crawford said. “That’s our goals and that’s what we’re trying to do this year.”
With the loss, Warrensburg-Latham/Maroa Forsyth are 1-2 to start the season.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the performance,” Coach Dutcher said. “But you know what, we will get better and we will improve and it’s early in the season so it’ll be okay. But yeah, definitely disappointed.”
The Braves won 6-1 against Argenta-Oreana and lost 6-1 to Washington and 3-1 to Normal West in the Mahomet-Seymour Invite. This week the Braves will face Mahomet-Seymour and Champaign Centennial on the road.