NEW BOSTON – Having to play without one of your leading goal scorers in any game automatically puts you at a disadvantage you’d otherwise not have to deal with. In New Boston’s case, the Tigers were without senior Blake Grant Thursday in their home game against Chesapeake.
Knowing that, New Boston’s team and coaching staff knew it would take a full team effort to rise their level of play in hopes of ending their four game losing skid.
With a 4-1 win over Chesapeake, it’s safe to say every Tiger on the field Thursday rose to the challenge to help lift their level of play.
“I felt like our defense really held it down today,” Tigers head coach Greg Mauk said following the 4-1 non-league win. “That was the main reason we were able to keep the ball on our end. Any time Chesapeake would win possession, we’d work it in to our back-line and get it right back in to our offense. We had a lot of players who played their butts off, helped us get the win tonight.”
Chesapeake scored the game’s first goal at the 23:58 mark of the first half to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
However, that lead would dissipate quickly thanks to New Boston senior Malachi Potts and the Tigers offensive attack.
At the 17:27 mark, Potts scored the Tigers first goal from well outside the penalty box to tie things at 1-1. Less than five minutes later at the 12:56 mark, Potts scored his second goal to give New Boston the 2-1 advantage in the latter stages of the first half. A third goal nearly found the back of the net just under two minutes later from his second, but Potts’ efforts were limited to just two goals after several near misses.
“Mal set the tone early with his first goal,” Mauk said. “After that, our whole team got excited and started to rally. That’s what Mal can do for our team.”
New Boston would take their 2-1 lead into the halftime break.
In the second half, sophomore Levi Bowman found the back of the net to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead at the 17:14 mark. As time wound down toward a finish, sophomore Jerome McKinley scored to put New Boston ahead 4-1 with just 1:02 left in the match.
“Levi has been asked to move around a lot and play positions he’s not used to,” Mauk said. “Today he really rose to the occasion with Blake being out and was able to put one in for us. With Jerome’s hustle and athleticism, he can play just about anywhere on the field. It was good to see him get a goal tonight; He has a bright future as a soccer player.”
A 4-1 result meant a win for New Boston, but also meant the Tigers defense played an important role in help getting the win by shutting out Chesapeake for the final 63:58 seconds of the game.
“First year players Luke [Henson], Chase [Clark], and Marcus [Saunders] are doing a great job for us defensively,” Mauk continued. “They understand the sport and a re playing with a lot of confidence right now. They brought hustle and positive energy tonight to help us get the win.”
New Boston is a step behind their three conference opponents in the SOC I race with an 0-3 conference record. The good news, however, is that they still have three games against each of their league foes to try and rectify their early season mishaps.
For Mauk and his group of Tigers, ball control will be a big factor in making sure next week’s league games against Valley and Clay result in their favor.
“We definitely need to work on possession,” Mauk said. “As a team, we know we need to possess the ball better to get an SOC win. Going against Clay and Valley next week, we’re going to work on that, making ourselves available for our teammates, and hopefully come away with a couple of wins.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT
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