Tiger Soccer Falls To South Oldham
The Saint Xavier Soccer Team took a tough loss Wednesday, losing 2-0 against a strong South Oldham team. Coming off of two weekend matches against nationally ranked High School programs, the Tigers hoped to gain their second win of the season, but were stopped in their tracks by the Dragons.
From the viewpoint of senior goalkeeper Alex Popovich, the first half of the game showed the team’s lack of experience and chemistry at this stage in the season. South Oldham pinned two goals on the Tigers in the first 17 minutes of action. The early offense fueled the home crowd, as the Dragons had a considerable student showing that added pressure on St. X almost from the get-go.
The Tigers could not find their rhythm early on, and the score showed it. Popovich was playing only his second game in goal since taking over the position for junior Davis George. He believed the early problems arose because of a lack of communication.
“We all needed to buy into the system and not do our own individual thing,” Popovich said. “We’re getting great individual showings from (senior captain Andrew) Schaefer and others, but we need to all come together.”
He also blamed an overall lackluster effort in preparation for the game as a contributing factor to the team’s slow start Wednesday night.
“We came out this week not really into practice,” Popovich explained. “We really need to get into everyday practice so we can be a step ahead in that last segment (of games) and play at a higher rate. Obviously, letting those two goals in is not where we want to be.”
The halftime score was 2-0 in favor of the Dragons, and the team needed a push. Popovich said the focus in the huddle was on “the system” and how some players felt about it. Head Coach Andy Schulten responded to the team by saying, “It’s just soccer, and that’s what we need to play.” The speech worked, as the Tigers came out of the break a much better team.
The defense tightened its back line so that the Dragons were held at a stand still offensively. The Tigers still struggled to create scoring opportunities, though, as much of the second half of play was characterized by fighting over the ball in the midfield area, with neither team taking control of possession.
In the end, however, the final scene was South Oldham’s students rushing the field to congratulate their team on a great effort, while the Tigers huddled around Coach Schulten at their bench. It was a tough loss for the team to swallow, but St. X can say without a doubt that they played a very talented team tonight and simply came up short.
“[South Oldham] is one of the better teams in the area,” said senior midfielder and captain Clay Brown.
The Tigers can definitely take something away from this loss: they didn’t go down without a fight. St. X left it all out on the field in the second half surge, and this game could prove to be exactly the motivation the players need to get the ball rolling in the right direction. For one, junior midfielder Colin Kremer is still confident in the team and its chances to take home redemption this year.
Tiger Soccer will return to action next Tuesday, Sept. 9th against district opponent Male High School, where they hope to break out and capture a second district win of the season.