Boys' Soccer - JV
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Watertown—The Rhinos took the field for the first contest of 2019 in high spirits, welcoming guests Brunswick and anticipating a solid start to the season. The Bruins posed Taft a number of challenges, making forays into attack with crafty lobs and funneling Big Red’s passes toward their capable backline. Much of the first half was a cagey affair, Taft trying to build a rhythm in the passing game, while Brunswick sought the flighted ball their strong, quick forwards could latch onto. Tackles were fair and, while there was plenty of vim, both sides took the sporting approach to make a well-fought, proper soccer match. Taft opened its account in the 34th minute following a free-kick opportunity just outside the Bruins’ penalty area. Tucker Cassady ’20 had a good angle for a shot on goal from his favored left foot, but chose to slide it along the floor for fellow midfielders Tate Phillips ’21 or Luke Smith ’22 to run onto. Players from both teams took mighty swipes and the caroming ball eventually fell to an on-rushing Devin Johnson ’20 on the near side of the box. The captain bundled it across the line to put Taft up just as the half began to wind down. As the second half got under steam, Lachlan Hawes ’23 made a number of key tackles and showed good vision to pass down his right channel. Fellow debutante Cooper Reed ’23 got in on the action snuffing out high balls ‘wick tried over the top and covering for his CB partner when Bruin forwards made darting runs. Nixon Jennings ’22 looked likely to score in just his first handful of touches, getting sumptuous passes laid on by Smith. As the game stretched, Taft amped up the energy and began finding space to work the ball deep into Brunswick’s half. Will Franco ’22 made a charging run down the inside left channel and worked himself in front of the defender with a clear path toward goal. The Brunswick defender hauled Franco down, setting up the PK that Taft’s forward duly dispatched. Jesse Brew ’21 created a number of fine exchanges on the right side and combined well with Fej Esievo ’22 to clamp down on the speed that Brunswick brought there. GK Sean Dunbar showed why his team appreciate having him between the sticks, making some last-ditch saves. Ringing the bell one last time, Franco scored Taft’s third only five minutes later. Marwan Elborolossy ’21 sent a well-weighted corner kick into the area that found Franco streaking in for a late run. The full volley put an emphatic stamp on the match. As Alex Downey ’22 and Scott Noh ’22 clamped down on any Bruin come-back, the referee blew his whistle. The Rhinos wish to thank Brunswick for a clean, hard-working contest. Taft returns to action Wednesday at home to Westminster.