ALBANY — Coming off a disheartening loss to Marietta last week, the Alexander Spartans were ready to make amends on Monday night in Albany.
The unfortunate recipients were Jack Miles’ Southeastern Panthers, a team that has had an off again, on again season schedule so far. The Panthers had lost their last four and Monday was not to be a salve for them.
It was, however, one for Alexander. The Red and Black dominated the action from the first touch and laid claim to midfield as their exclusive territory. Dylan Allison and Ethan Neidhart won every loose ball and every challenge, setting up birthday boy Parker Bolin. Bolin was dancing and prancing through the Panther defense like Noble Stewball, the racehorse from the Peter, Paul, and Mary tune.
Fellow junior, Kyler D’Augustino was Bolin’s primary target and he made goalie Jacob Lenox work hard to keep his nets clean with two good saves. D’Augustino repaid the favor when he collected a long lead from Jace Ervin, ripped through the defense, and set up his teammate in the middle. Bolin tapped in the ball and the Spartans were on the board 1-0 with ten minutes gone.
With Neidhart and Allison shutting down the middle and feeding the attack, Alexander forced the defense into hurried clearances that lead to a flurry of corner kicks. A nifty bit of footwork by Eddie Schilling created Bolin’s second tally. After working through the left side defenders and moving into the clear, Schilling passed to the center and Bolin was one-on-one with Lenox. He tucked the ball into the webbing and the Spartan lead was doubled.
Enter speedy Jagger Cain. As he sped past the last right side defender toward the goal, he was knocked down inside the eighteen and it resulted in a penalty kick. Being Bolin’s birthday, what better gift than a new hat. With his PK shot settled in the back of the net, he collected the hat trick and the home side were up 3-0.
Bolin figured into the next score, as well. He located D’Augustino with a pretty feed and his fellow junior did the rest, ramping the lead to four.
It took only a minute for the next marker. Neidhart had been pestering every dribble and pass in the midfield as the disruptor-in-chief. He turned a steal at the twenty yard zone into a laser blast between the pipes. Holding a 5-0 lead, the Spartans did not allow any substantial possession into their defensive third in the first forty minutes.
The second stanza was a replay of the first and with the five goal lead, the officials implemented the running clock rule. Alexander was working their combination passing game almost at will. Early on, Bolin was taken down from behind on a drive in front of Lenox. He came off the pitch and D’Augustino was called on to take the resulting penalty kick. He buried the shot into the twine and had registered his fiftieth goal, the seventh soccer Spartan to do so.
Coach Kirk Crow began freely substituting for the remainder of the match and the quality of the passing didn’t change. Two freshman collaborated for the final tally of the night. Mason Morris had been putting the moves on defenders almost twice his size and barely missed a couple of opportunities. His height doppelganger, A J Turner, had raced down the left side and rang up a wicked shot that Lenox had to dive to his right to tap away. Morris jammed the rebound into the strings with power and ended the scoring 7-0.
“We needed a good bounce back game and I told the team we had to get the ball to feet and play with possession. Our guys did a great job in the middle and our defense was strong. The wings did good work getting up field. I thought we put together a lot of nice combinations and set up good chances in the front of goal.”
The Spartan record now stands at 5-2-1 and they will host the always tough Warren Warriors on Thursday for a 6 p.m. start.
Alex 5 2 7
Southeastern 0 0 0
Alex Bolin (D’Augustino) 1st 30:45 1-0
Alex Bolin (Schilling) 1st 19:09 2-0
Alex Bolin (PK) 1st 13:23 3-0
Alex D’Augustino (Bolin) 1st 07:09 4-0
Alex Neidhart 1st 06:00 5-0
Alex D’Augustino (PK) 2nd 27:09 6-0
Alex Morris 2nd 02:22 7-0