NEW BOSTON — In any sport, focus is a key element of any game that one plays in. In fact, that very focus has made the soccer programs at New Boston and Valley two of the more competitive ones any one will find across the SOC I and Southeast District realm.
However, when Kade Conley, Kyle McQuithy, and Malachi Potts each begin to click during a contest, the potential results are of the deadly variety.
On Tuesday evening, the trio, behind their relentless play and hustle, proved that in spades as New Boston overcame a 1-0 deficit behind its big three, who scored all five of the Tigers’ goals while assisting on four of the five in an impressive 5-1 victory over Valley on Friday evening at New Boston Municipal Stadium in an SOC I conference affair at Millbrook Park.
For New Boston head coach Greg Mauk, the winning effort came about from the Tigers not letting up on either end of the field.
“We played good, from our goalie all the way up the field,” Mauk said. “Everything that we’ve been working on all season seemed to finally click tonight. We did it together. It wasn’t a one-man show. Everybody played together, and we were communicating on the field, so I’m very happy with the victory.”
As for Andy Johnson, Valley will simply have to get up from the canvas in order to move forward and grow from the loss.
“It’s a tough loss for us,” Johnson said. “All we can do is try to bounce back.”
Throughout the course of the affair, both units traded turns attacking the goal as the Indians and the Tigers each had their fair share of opportunities over the entirety of the 80-minute contest. It was Valley, however, who was able to strike the back of the net first as Cameron Phillips started off the assault with a goal from the right side of the box to put the Indians up by a 1-0 tally early on.
“We came out strong,” Johnson said. “Cameron added that early goal there for us, and he’s been one of our better scorers all year, so that was nice to see.”
However, while Valley would obtain plenty of chances from 15 yards in, New Boston’s defense was able to put the clamps on the Indians’ offense for the remainder of the evening behind the play of Jacob Darby and the remainder of the Tigers’ defensive unit.
“Jacob is really starting to understand his position, and he played it perfectly (on Tuesday evening),” Mauk said. “He played a big part in holding Valley to one goal. He led our defense. Additionally, everybody shifted and played together as a unit in the back. They were talking, communicating, shifting as a unit, and playing together.”
While New Boston continued to execute defensively throughout the remainder of the opening half, and the additional 40 minutes afterward, the offense showed its wherewithal in a matter of five minutes as Conley responded with scores off of back-to-back through balls from McQuithy and Potts in the 19th and the 21st minutes to give the Tigers a 2-1 advantage.
For much of the remainder of the first half of action, the score remained stationary at a 2-1 tally — until McQuithy used his own set of special skills to obtain an amazing shot from the near side.
With room to spare, the senior launched a bender from 20 yards out and watched as the ball carried and perfectly nestled itself into the backside of the net as New Boston took a 3-1 advantage. Potts then capped off the first half of play by getting past the Valley backline and obtaining a goal of his own with 11.8 seconds to play to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead at the halftime break.
“Kade and Kyle deserve to be successful,” Mauk said when asked of what he thought of Conley’s and McQuithy’s performances. “When they come out with good, positive energy like that, I feel that we have a chance to win any game. They definitely showed good energy tonight.”
Potts, however, was far from done showing off his impressive play. After tracking a ball down in the far corner with 10 minutes to play, the sophomore turned around, fired, and found Conley streaking down the near side. The cross was so well-played that Conley didn’t even break his stride when the senior headed the ball into the back of the net to set the final score.
“These past three or four games, Malachi has really taken on the role of being the facilitator for us, and as a result, he’s controlled the midfield,” Mauk said. “He’s done a great job for us, and he’s only a sophomore. To see that type of play from a sophomore is huge. He’s helped our team a lot. With that play from Malachi, along with that gritty play that we’ve had from Kade and Kyle up front, has been huge. The main thing is that they’re doing it all together. There’s no selfishness. They’re just making the right play.”
With the win, New Boston obtains some much-needed momentum that will help the youthful Tigers in their quest to grow on down the road.
“When teams come in here, every team that we play has more people on the bench than we do,” Mauk said. “So it’s important for us to get everything from who we’ve got out on the field, and that does put a lot of pressure on the guys to execute properly. However, when we get that good, positive energy from everybody like we did tonight, it allows us to maximize our potential as a team and overcome that.”
As for Valley, the Indians, who fell to 5-5 on the year with the loss, will have to show resiliency and resolve if it not only wants to defeat a South Webster squad that has gone 5-0-4 on the year, but if it desires to finish the season out in a strong manner.
“South Webster will be a very tough game,” Johnson said. “They’re the class of the county, as far as soccer goes, so it’ll be a tough game. However, we’re 5-5, and we’re going to keep plugging away. We’re going to attempt to give South Webster a good game and we’re going to bounce back.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7