09/27/07 — Hunt defeats Southern Wayne

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Hunt defeats Southern Wayne

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on September 27, 2007 3:03 PM

DUDLEY -- The coaching staff at Southern Wayne preaches to its men's soccer players to have no fear.

That's easier said than done when goals, and victories, have been rare over the past two seasons.

But this year's edition of the Saints seems to be buying into that philosophy. They've already posted a program-best three wins since 2005 and undoubtedly wanted No. 4 on Wednesday evening against perennial Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference heavyweight Wilson Hunt.

However, the Warriors prevailed 2-0 in a fiercely-contested battle at the Doyle Whitfield Athletic Complex. Southern Wayne (3-5 overall, 0-4 ECC) suffered its fifth consecutive loss, while Hunt (7-6-1) exited with a 2-1 conference ledger.

"It was physical game, but we have to get the ball up the field better with our strikers and midfielders," said Southern Wayne assistant coach Scott Underhill. "We can't get caught watching the grass dry."

Hunt dominated possession and shots on goal (23-6). Southern Wayne managed to keep the game close thanks to its aggressive defense and some spectacular saves by goalie Rosendo Molina. In just his third game, Molina recorded 16 saves, including several from point-blank range.

"He played really well," said Underhill.

In front of Molina, the fullbacks and midfielders did what they could to try and shut down the Hunt attack while putting up with some hard plays. Fullbacks Carlos Zometa and Carlos Najera both made countless tackles and clears to keep the Warriors at bay.

"Zometa and Najera are both very aggressive back there," said Underhill. "They won't back down."

Even with the stellar defense, the Warriors still managed to find the back of the net.

Following a short goal kick, the Warriors counter attacked with 23 minutes to play in the first half. Aaron White found Jonas Dewald who slid in and knocked a shot past Molina for a 1-0 Hunt lead.

Despite putting 11 shots on goal and drawing six corner kicks, Hunt wouldn't score again in the first half.

In the second half, the offensive troubles continued for Southern Wayne as it constantly found itself playing on the back of its heels. Whenever a scoring opportunity presented itself, the Saints never had more than two or three players attacking.

"We need to really start thinking like soccer players -- getting the ball up the field and putting more pressure than we have been," said Underhill. "Hopefully we can turn this around."

Hunt had no such problem as its players continued to maintain possession on the Saints' side of the field. Even with the chances and hard-nosed play, the Saints' defense continued to turn away scoring chances.

The Warriors' Eric Nguyen put the game out of reach with a 25-yard shot in the 63rd minute.

"Sometimes the job responsibilities are neglected and that's what has hurt us in these losses," said Underhill.

Even though it was another loss for the Saints, Underhill is seeing many positives in his squad. The Saints aren't backing down, aren't losing their cool to dirty play and are playing tight defense.

"The last three teams we've played have been beatable," said Underhill. "We keep them close. You can see that we're progressing and becoming a lot better."