This week’s boys’ soccer game features the visit of Riverside High School’s Warriors to Hurricane’s Redskins. This was a conference game but statistically it would seem to be something of a mismatch, with the Redskins ranked sixth in the state while Riverside are listed at sixty-seven.
The visitors adopted a 4-4-2 formation and kicked off to start the game but the home team’s forward line stole the ball before Riverside could make a second pass and surged forward, forcing the first corner after less than a minute. Zack Green took the kick, but the Warriors keeper caught the ball cleanly and tried to send his team away with a long kick.
Hurricane’s midfield was contesting every second ball and had no trouble intercepting the kick. They were already causing the Riverside defense problems, especially on the wings, winning six throws in the attacking half in first five minutes. Anele Nnachi, the home side’s number seven, beat the Warriors’ back line almost every time as he ran down the right side and sent over several fast and accurate crosses.
In the eighth minute his cross caused a goalmouth scramble that saw two Hurricane shots blocked, and in the tenth minute another was put high over the cross bar.
It was only a minute later that Nnachi’s hard work paid off as he sent yet another cross to the far side of the penalty area where number 17, Drake Lester, made no mistake in shooting low and hard into the net. Hurricane 1 – Riverside 0.
Nnachi himself had a shooting opportunity in the 13th minute but the visiting keeper managed to get behind the ball and held it well. Up until this time the Warrior’s forwards had presented no real threat to Hurricane’s defense but fifteen minutes in Cameron Lewis, their number 25, won the ball on the half-way line and ran with it deep into the Redskins’ half, avoiding a couple of attempted tackles on the way. He tried to cross it to his forwards in the middle, but it went straight to a Hurricane defender and was cleared up field.
For the next few minutes the play was almost exclusively in the Riverside half and the visitor’s keeper was kept busy parrying and catching shots from several Hurricane forwards.
Despite his efforts he had no chance as Carter Maddox sent a long cross for Drake Lester to volley home from the left side of the box. Hurricane 2 – Riverside 0.
Two minutes later the Warriors’ Jhan Vasquaz won a tackle and ran up the left touchline into the Hurricane half in only the visitor’s second real attack. He took the ball almost to the corner but when he tried to cross it was caught by the Redskin’s keeper.
That was the last real penetration of Redskins’ territory in the first half and, for the remaining ten minutes before the break the visiting keeper, Zack Owsley, was kept busy as his goal was bombarded with crosses and shots from the Hurricane forwards The home team had no further success however, and the half ended with the score 2 – 0 to the Redskins. Hurricane had taken seven corners and had five shots on goal without reply from Riverside.
Hurricane kicked off the second half and in the first minute a shot from outside the area soared over the bar. This was followed by several minutes of intense activity in and around the visitor’s penalty area with the Redskins passing and shooting on sight and the Warriors’, who by this time had most of their players back in defense, failing to clear.
Anele Nnachi was still causing problems for the Riverside defense and, in the thirteenth minute he won a throw deep in the visitors’ half. The throw was taken quickly and the ball bobbed around the penalty are with several players from both sides heading it until Nnachi saw his opportunity, ran in and poked it into an empty net. 3 – 0 to Hurricane.
Two minutes later the Redskins further increased their lead. Again it was Nnachi who started the move by sending over a cross that a defender put out for a corner. The kick was taken and the ball was sent to the near side of the penalty area where the referee spotted a handball by a Riverside player. Immediately he blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot.
Drake Lester took the kick, sending the ball low to the keeper’s right and completing his hat-trick. Hurricane 4 – Riverside 0.
It wasn’t until the 16th minute of the half that the Warriors’ forwards made their first run into the Hurricane penalty area and on that occasion the home keeper collected the ball and cleared easily.
This move was followed by another ten minutes of Hurricane pressure with Riverside for the most part pinned back in their own half. The visitors seemed to be contesting the ball more in midfield but, after 24 minutes, Carter Maddox got the ball on the right side in the middle of the attacking half, ran into the area and fired a low shot that beat the keeper to bring the score to 5 – 0.
Despite the score Riverside continued to try to win the ball and, in the 31st minute, Carson Casto got it around the halfway line, sprinted up the left touch line and lobbed the ball into the net from outside the area to make the score 5 – 1.
That was the end of the scoring. For two or three minutes the visitors were inspired by their goal and had two or three more shots but they all missed their target and the game finished with Hurricane coming out easy winners by five goals to one.
To their credit Riverside never gave up trying but they were clearly in a different class from the first whistle. Their goalkeeper, Zack Owsley kept the score down to a respectable level while Anele Nnachi was the payer who stood out for Hurricane.