08/19/08 — Wayne Christian dominates the pitch

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Wayne Christian dominates the pitch

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 19, 2008 1:36 PM

Lofty expectations and growing pains collided on Monday as a pair of clubs that at the present time appear headed in different directions met on a muggy Monday afternoon.

Both Wayne Christian and Wayne Country Day felt the pains of graduation during the offseason, but it was the visiting Eagles who appeared to have patched those holes more quickly in a 4-1 victory.

Wayne Christian (1-0 overall) pressured the Wayne Country Day defense the entire first half, pushing the ball down the sidelines with ease and using long diagonal passes to find teammates in space.

The Eagles needed just three minutes to get on the board as Gregory Alexander dribbled through the Chargers' defense and into the penalty box before beating keeper James Crooks in the right corner of the goal.

Wayne Christian's Bradley Yelverton just missed pushing the lead to 2-0 as hit shot clanged off the right post. Alexander fed Yelverton a pass through the box in the 28th minute that Yelverton punched home for a 2-0 advantage.

Just before halftime Alexander struck again unleashing a blast from near the top of the box that Crooks never got a hand on.

"We scrimmaged Wayne Country Day on Saturday," said Wayne Christian head coach Daryl Anderson. "On Saturday we tried to cram the ball up the middle and they had a lot of defenders up the middle. Our game plan was to spread out and take the ball down the sides and try to put the ball in the goal early."

Josh Powers slipped through the Chargers' defense and received a long pass, finding himself one-on-one with Crooks in the 51st minute. The senior buried a shot into the back of the net for a 4-0 cushion.

Wayne Country Day (0-2) didn't fold and appeared to have a bit more success in the second half of slowing down Wayne Christian's offense.

Hil Tanner's goal in the 79th minute helped the Chargers avoid the shutout.

"I liked that we were able to come out in the second half and change the tempo of the game," said Wayne Country Day head coach Baron Heinemann. "We seemed to control more of the possession and we made them play more of our style of soccer instead of theirs. We allowed 15 shots in the first half, that's what I counted, and that shot ratio was six to five in the second half.

"I wish I could go back and erase the first half."

With six freshmen, a pair of eighth graders and not a single senior roster on its roster, Wayne Country Day is forced to learn through trial by fire and hope hardships now pay dividends later.

"You're pretty much guaranteed to see these players who might be really good in another year or two, they're going to be really good next year," said Heinemann. "The downside is you're having this constant struggle of making sure they understand their situation and they don't get down."

Meanwhile, Wayne Christian lost eight seniors, seven of which were starters, but that hasn't deterred Anderson from setting the bar high for the 2008 season.

"They work hard, they really do," said Anderson. "They work good together, they communicate and I really believe you'll see us in the final four this year. That's where I'm expecting to be.

"I'll know in the next two weeks because we play Kerr-Vance and Faith of Rocky Mount."