West Brunswick’s varsity soccer team won both of its home games last week to go to 2-1-1 overall.
After starting the season with a 2-2 tie game at Whiteville on Aug. 17, the Trojans began the second week of the season by outlasting South Columbus 3-2 at M.H. Rourk Stadium on Aug. 22 and then shut out Whiteville 1-0 at home Aug. 24.
“On the defensive end we asked the boys not to allow goals, and I think we checked that box. Out of three games, that’s our first clean sheet. We dominated the game. Whiteville played a great defensive game that made us frustrated in some moments. They made it really hard. We had to work hard for the one goal toward the end but we got the 1-0 win,” Trojan head soccer coach Emanuel Sarkorh said.
“I think after seeing Whiteville once, we knew they were a very physical team. They beefed up and added more players this time around. We knew the physicality of the game would be there. Our message to our boys was, ‘Let’s just play our game. Let’s trust ourselves. Let’s be calm. It might be difficult at times but trust what we’re doing. Eventually, the goal will come,’ ” Sarkorh said.
“To give Whiteville credit, they had us to where we were frustrated. But eventually our boys overcame that and we got the one goal we needed. And that boosted the morale and the team was able to close the game out.”
Sarkorh said the Trojans’ defense knew how to play Whiteville to keep them from having the same success coming back from down 2-0 to tie the first game between the teams.
“We knew Whiteville was playing longball. We knew that’s their strength. So our goalkeeper knew the longball was coming. Our back line knew the longball was coming. So whenever Whiteville got in that attacking form to send the longball, our boys just anticipated them, sat back and waited for the ball to come,” he said.
After a scoreless first half, the Trojans scored on the Wolfpack with 20 minutes left in the game.
“Our attacker Osler Aguilar got the ball and one or two plays between him and a few other players — Tyler Harbin, Allen Olmedo and Fernando Bonifacio — to kind of work the ball in the box. The ball came to Osler, who was able to work in the box in front of the goal to score on the left side,” Sarkorh said.
West is still looking for its first win on the road after a 5-0 loss to East Bladen in Elizabethtown on Aug. 25.
Sarkorh said he was worried about the team having tired legs while playing their third game of the week, which played out in the loss. But he is happy with a better start in his second season coaching the Trojans after a 1-18 year in 2021.
“We’re better than last year. That, I can say. I think what we worked on the whole summer during the offseason, we’re starting to show it,” Sarkorh said.
“Last year was tough for us with Covid, games being canceled or rescheduled or not being able to play. This time around, we knew we would have a full season. So the biggest thing was could we get a run going before conference play starts. If you compare us last year to this year, massive improvement. So I think we’re ready for the season. Obviously, we know there are awesome schools, powerhouses to play. When those games come we’ll take a different approach to address them. Until then, we’ll just take it one game at a time.”
The Trojans are scheduled to host Cape Fear Academy on Thursday, Sept. 1. The West JV soccer team begins its season with a 4 p.m. game, and then the varsity teams play at 5:30 p.m.
Brian Slattery is the sports editor for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 910-239-7433 or email@example.com.