Demon boys’ soccer advances
When Mason Quigley headed in the game-tying goal with three minutes left, the Washington crowd cheered hard.
Then in extra-time, Joe Smith made them go crazy.
Two minutes into the overtime session, Smith found the back of the net for the second time Tuesday night, giving Washington the 3-2 win over Mt. Pleasant in the first round of boys’ soccer sub-state play.
“My head is absolutely spinning,” Washington head coach Steven Caulk said. “We had a few looks early on in the overtime, but everybody on the team really worked hard in that second half to score goals. Joe scored some but everyone deserves credit here.”
After a lightning delay three minutes into the game, the Demons struck first on a header from Smith.
Mt. Pleasant didn’t wait long to tie the game back up, as Nyazum Gwamna connected on a well-placed cross with 10 minutes left in the first half.
Despite chances on both sides, the 1-1 tie wouldn’t be broken until nearly 30 minutes into the second half when Mt. Pleasant’s Yiannis Steryiannis broke past two Washington defenders and found the back of the net to give the Panthers the lead.
“When we scored the second goal, there were only 10 minutes to go and when that happens, you have to change your tactics,” Mt. Pleasant assistant coach Jag Kang said. “You can’t keep playing in the same way, because we were playing in attacking formation. When we went up 2-1, we sat back a little bit and that kind of invited a pressure run, but I don’t feel like they created any chances of their own.”
Then with three minutes left, a Panther turnover led to a Washington attack. Amado Marcelino attempted a shot that was blocked by the Panther keeper, but it was redirected right to Quigley, who knocked the ball in.
“I looked over and I saw Amado (Marcelino) going and the keeper came out,” Quigley said. “I saw Amado shoot it or get it up and over him and he kicked it awkwardly and it came in, and it was a good pass. I saw it and just headed it in and scored and went crazy.”
The game went into extra time, but Washington seemed to have all the momentum and two minutes in, Smith connected on the game-winner.
“My coaches made me feel like I needed to get back on defense, but I saw an opportunity,” Smith said. “Whenever I score I put my son in my head and I drive myself so I can do it for him. Coach wanted me to go so bad because I was dog tired and he put it in me that I had to get one more, and without him I wouldn’t have been able to score.”
Caulk credited Washington’s conditioning for getting the team the victory, and thinks the team got better as the game went on.
“We really spent a lot of time on endurance training,” Caulk said. “We do a lot with running exercises and making sure we can play all the way through. We don’t have many guys on the bench, so we have to have guys on the field who can play all 80 minutes. That paid dividends for us. In the first half they had the momentum, then in the second half, I would argue in the last 20 minutes we were getting better looks that they were.”
Washington will move on to face Fairfield on Thursday evening, a team they’ve faced three times already this season with mixed results
In the first meeting at Washington on April 17, the Demons rolled to a 10-2 victory, but the two games the teams played at Fairfield resulted in a 6-2 loss and a 3-2 overtime loss.
The team feels they know how they need to play against the Trojans and looks forward to the challenge.
“Fairfield is a good team and we lost to them twice, so we just have to come out and play our ball,” Smith said. “When we get tense we try to play kick ball with them, but we need to play how we did today and sit back and pace the game ourselves and play how we want to play.”
The game is set for Thursday in Fairfield at 6 p.m.