WAVERLY – If it were scripted, South Webster couldn’t have asked for a better start to their time in the SOC II in boys soccer.
After years of winning numerous conference titles as a member of the SOC I, the Jeeps began their first year in the SOC II with a resounding 5-0 road win over Waverly. Coming off back to back district championships at the Division III level, the fact that they’re in a new conference with bigger schools doesn’t affect their mindset: they want to compete and win.
“I liked how we were moving the ball,” said Jeeps coach Corey Claxon following the win. “I thought we moved the ball really well and quick. I thought these guys put everything together that we’ve been working on. Overall it was a good night.”
The Jeeps scored five goals in their conference opener. Two of those came off the foot of Gabe Ruth with 14:40 and 10:32 left in the first half respectively. Trae Zimmerman scored the game’s opening goal at the 21:46 mark of the first half. South Webster took their 3-0 lead into the half.
In the second half, Braden Martin scored with 37:08 left in the game followed by freshman Connor Bender’s first career goal with 22:00 minutes left in the game.
“We’ve definitely got some guys who can score goals for us,” Claxon said. “They all stepped up and got involved in the goal scoring in some way. They‘re working well as a team, which is really what we need so teams can’t focus in on one player.”
While the Jeeps scored five goals of their own, another thing that Claxon takes pride in is his team’s defense. Through the entire first half, Waverly attempted just one shot on goal, a credit to the Jeeps ability to keep the ball out of the attacking zones.
“We’ve been focusing on our defense a lot,” Claxon said. “All our guys back there are first time starters, even our goalie. They’ve been listening and working well, and it paid off with the shutout tonight.”
South Webster will travel to Wheelersburg Tuesday night for their second SOC road game of the season. Even though they may be in different conferences, the Jeeps and Pirates are no strangers. The two powers met three times a year ago including in the Division III district final game which saw the Jeeps win 4-0.
The fact they’re new in the conference doesn’t scare Claxon, nor his team. Instead, it’s the possibility of winning their new conference their first year in the league that motivates them.
“We know it’s going to be a challenge and a battle every night,” Claxon said. “But we’re used to facing these teams, and it’s good for us, no matter how it ends up. We’d love to win it our first time in it, so we’ll see how it plays out.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT