09/25/07 — Eastern Wayne cruises past Beddingfield

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Eastern Wayne cruises past Beddingfield

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on September 25, 2007 2:57 PM

Barely 10 minutes into Monday evening's contest against Wilson Beddingfield, the Eastern Wayne men's soccer team appeared to suffer a devastating loss.

Senior Robbie Keys suffered a right-ankle injury and remained sidelined the remainder of the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference match. Many teams would have panicked over losing their leading scorer.

Not the Warriors.

Four players provided the offense in Keys' absence and Eastern Wayne claimed a 4-1 decision at Little Big Horn. The Warriors (4-5 overall) improved to 2-1 in the ECC, while the Bruins (3-10) exited 1-2 against conference opposition.

"I don't think (Keys' injury) does to our team what it does to some other teams," said Eastern Wayne coach Jörg Wagner, who expects Keys to play Wednesday. "The boys are convinced that things like this we can deal with. It takes away a little of the speed, but we spread the wealth around enough that losing one player won't be the end of the world for us."

Eric Suncin, Jace Muehlenthaler, Zach Pinter and Chris Knobling each collected a goal for Eastern Wayne.

Defensively, the Warriors got stellar play from Mike Bero, Colin Malcolm and Bryan Coltrane. Their effort allowed the trio of Eastern Wayne goalies -- Vincent Hagedorn, Josh Olmsted and Tyler Beachem -- to rarely get tested.

"Brian Coltrane had an exceptional game," said Wagner. "I don't think he lost a 50-50 ball. With an effort like that, limiting touches for opposing forwards, we were able to force them to play long balls and take longer shots."

The Warriors opened scoring at the 13-minute mark. Suncin one-touched a shot from Pinter past Beddingfield goalie Troy Cashion for the 1-0 lead.

The lead grew to 2-0 when Muehlenthaler blocked a Beddingfield clear attempt, went one-on-one with Cashion and drilled a shot into the left corner.

Despite 11 shots on goal, the Warriors couldn't find the back of the net again in the first half.

"We maintained possession throughout most of the game," said Wagner. "We created a good number of scoring chances as well."

The Warriors started off slow in the second half as the Beddingfield defense clamped down. It wasn't until 55 minutes in that Eastern Wayne would have a good scoring opportunity.

Muehlenthaler led Pinter with a perfectly touched pass. Pinter raced onto the ball and scored past goalie Alex Herrera. Pinter's goal looked that much bigger minutes later when Rick Diaz finally beat the Warriors' defense and scored on a breakaway to make it 3-1.

"We did have one breakdown though that led to the goal," said Wagner. "We did well though controlling the pace of the game."

Following the one defensive lapse, the Warriors didn't allow another solid scoring chance for the Bruins.

Minutes before the final whistle, Knobling finished off Beddingfield in style. He received a mid-air pass from Sang Kim and did a scissors kick to beat Herrera for Eastern Wayne's fourth goal of the evening.

"Chris' goal was exceptional," said Wagner. "Goals like that you like them because it shows a certain amount of confidence by the player."

Eastern Wayne visits two-time defending regular-season and tournament champion Charles B. Aycock on Wednesday. Game time is 7 p.m. in Pikeville.

"Aycock will of course be the favorite," said Wagner. "Our game plan is pretty simple like theirs is. They'll be trying to give the ball to (Alex) Rodriguez or (Jorge) Delgado.

"If we can deal with that we'll be OK, but if not, we'll have problems."