Boys' Soccer - JV
Salisbury School
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Salisbury School
Win 8-1
On a warm and sunny afternoon in the foothills of the Appalachians, Taft JV Boys took on a spirited Salisbury. Taft headed into the game looking to maintain their unbeaten record this season, and started impressively right from the kick-off when Luca Gatti pressured the defense into a mistake, won the ball, and immediately slotted past the keeper to put Taft ahead after just 20 seconds. It was nearly another goal just a minute later when an excellent Jonathan So corner found Noah Cinel in the middle who headed just over. But things didn’t all go Taft’s way. In the fourth minute, a mix-up in the Taft defense resulted in a one-on-one that saw the Taft goal breached for only the first time in six games. It had been a remarkable record of clean sheets, thanks in large part to Taft athlete of the week Cayden Van Dolah, but their resistance had finally broken. It took a while for Taft to get a feel for the game following the Salisbury goal, but they got their act together in the 11th minute when Gatti—whose persistence and pressing set the tone of the game—nicked the ball from the Salisbury defense once again and then played an excellent through ball for Kaden Parsons to slot the ball into the back of the net and restore the Taft lead. Two minutes later it was nearly another when a brilliant long ball from Van Dolah made its way to Gatti who struck first time, with only an excellent save by the Salisbury keeper preventing a goal. Nevertheless, just a minute later an accurate So corner was met by Gatti who, to complete an excellent man-of-match performance, powerfully headed home. Then, in the 25th minute, a signature Thomson Knight long throw into the box bounced awkwardly for the Salisbury defense, and an audacious back-to-the-goal, overhead shot from Liam Dhumale-Smyth arced over the keeper to make it four. Minutes later, some intricate Taft passing saw Michael Werblow send the ball wide to Jack Dodd, who took it into the box with some fancy dribbling trickery and then laid off for Patrick Yan who put in a clinical finish to cap a delightful team goal. Next up it was Werblow again who shot from distance and found the net in the 34th minute. Taft went into half-time with a 6-1 lead. After the break, it didn’t take long for Taft to extend their lead. In the 43rd minute, Cinel slotted home after some intricate interplay between himself and Abdikani Ahmed. Just two minutes later, Parsons pounced on the loose ball to earn his second after a Gatti shot was only parried by the keeper. With the score 8-1, Taft tried to control their play, preserve their energy, and slow the game down. The team often had their wide players open and in space, ready to surge ahead if only they had been fed the ball, but as a wise man once said: you cannot fly without your wings. Nevertheless, though there were no further goals, it was another excellent result for the Taft team, who continue their season unbeaten with four games left to play. Go Big Red!