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Martinsville opens season with a loss
Martinsville’s Kyle Hathaway (left) wins a header against a Franklin County defender in the Bulldogs’ 5-0 loss Friday in Martinsville. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Sunday, March 17, 2013
By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer
Martinsville’s head boys soccer coach Pete Scouras felt his team played better than Friday night’s 5-0 defeat to Franklin County indicated. He even thought the 3-0 halftime deficit the Bulldogs faced was a little misleading, but at the same time knew it was more than justifiable with his team’s lack of marking in the defensive third.
The Eagles were potent in scoring three goals on five shots in the opening 40 minutes by converting on a pair of set pieces at Dan Greene Memorial Stadium in Martinsville. Goals in the ninth and 34th minutes on two well-executed restarts had Martinsville fighting an uphill battle.
“The first few games we were really struggling on finishing our chances, outshooting our opponents, but came away with losses both times, so it was nice to start converting,” Franklin County head coach Curtis Bumgardner said. “We’ve been working hard on our set pieces and we got two good goals on set pieces.”
Both times, failed marking by the Bulldogs (0-1) defense gave the Eagles (1-2) a pair of easy conversions, each time on headers. No defender was within a few yards of each goal scorer.
“The goal on the flick was inexcusable. It was a lack of communication, a lack of effort or whatever you want to call it,” Scouras said. “That’s got to get better. They were physical and the young guys got a taste of how you have to play. We have to get better in the defensive third, because our goalkeeper didn’t have a chance.”
Senior defender Chris Bede got things rolling for Franklin County on the first set-piece when he sent a long free kick from the left side about 10 yards inside the midfield line towards the far post. Fellow senior David Sicher made a clean run to the spot and buried the header. The second set-piece goal stemmed from a throw in that was flicked through by Connor Hardy with his head to the center of the six-yard box where Alejandro Castaneda finished with a point-blank header.
“The first goal was a designed run to the far post, to force the keeper to make a decision,” Bumgardner said. “And the second piece was off a throw in, where we have someone run to the near post and they flick it back toward the far post. So it was good to see some of those set pieces working.”
However, Martinsville had its chances too. The Bulldogs just couldn’t find a way to beat Eagles keeper Seth Jordan. Sam Dickerson had a good look in the 18th minute getting through to the left side of the penalty marker, but Jordan cut the angle and made the save to his right.
After Ethan Power curled in a nice shot from the left corner of the penalty box in the 25th minute for a 2-0 lead, the Bulldogs nearly answered immediately. Alex Martinez had a clear look from the top of the box, but his shot was lined right at Jordan who punched it over the bar. Then four minutes after Franklin County pushed its lead to 3-0, Dickerson had another look from distance gathering a deflection off the wall on free kick. But again the shot was directed straight at the keeper.
“I felt we were dangerous some in the first half,” Scouras said. “We kicked it right into the goalie’s chest twice and I thought it was really supposed to be 2-2 at half. We talked about at halftime that we couldn’t worry about the 3-0 score, and to go out and win the second half. I think for the first 15 minutes we did that.”
Bumgardner said Jordan’s effort in the first half was crucial in not allowing Martinsville to grab any kind of momentum.
“It did feel a bit fortunate to have a three-goal lead at halftime, and I credit our defense and keeper especially for making a couple key saves to keep them off the board,” he said. “A goal would have given them the momentum, and we didn’t want that to happen.
“This is (Jordan’s) first year starting in goal. We lost our keeper from last year, Max Phillips, to William Mary. So this was big for Seth to step up and start filling some big shoes. He’s done a great job so far and has done everything we’ve asked him to do.”
Martinsville played a strong opening 15-20 minutes of the second half as Zim Bela nearly got the Bulldogs on the board in the 53rd minute. Bela was able to sneak behind the defense and had a clear break through the right channel into the box, but Jordan again was able to touch the shot over the bar.
“I challenged the guys to be harder on the ball and fight back,” Scouras said. “They responded to that pretty good. I told my assistant we had to sneak one in early and get it back to 3-1, but it didn’t happen.”
Nine minutes later, Martinsville was dealt a tough break when freshman keeper Cody Martin picked up a red card, for an apparent kick to the back on a Franklin County player after punching a way ball sent into a crowd at the top of the 6-yard box. Scouras said the referee told him after the match that Martin’s action after getting tangled up on the ground is what warranted the straight red card.
“That was Cody’s (Martin) first varsity start and we were all excited to get him finally, and he gets a red card and has to sit the next game,” Scouras said. “Maybe that will help him grow up faster. We’ll have to help channel his frustration.”
Sicher converted the penalty kick, while Power capped the scoring in the 74th minute. Franklin County led 13-8 in shots.