Still looking for their first win of the season, Louisa’s varsity soccer team came up short in their bid to upset another struggling program, Orange, in the two teams’ matchup at The Jungle on Monday, April 21. The visiting Fighting Hornets (2-4-1) used three first-half goals to give themselves an insurmountable lead, and despite a strong defensive showing in the second half, Louisa fell to Orange 4-0.
Heading into the matchup, Louisa head coach Joel Abe switched the team into a 4-4-2 formation, which gave the Lions four defensive backs instead of the three they had used in previous games.
Louisa looked formidable running it later in the contest, but suffered quite a bit of growing pains early on.
“We had three in the back [earlier in the season] and it had just been getting gashed wide, so the 4-4-2 allows us to protect our width a little bit better and it’s a little less running for our outside midfielders in general,” Abe said. “It’s to try and solidify the back a little bit more.”
Orange failed to capitalize on their first four shots-on-goal to start the game, but hit paydirt in the 23rd minute. Hornets midfielder Robbie Almond sent a beautiful right to left cross parallel to the end line that connected with the foot of teammate Alex Kaval for the opening score of the game. Orange followed up with another goal just a few seconds later to storm to a 2-0 lead midway through the first half.
The quick scores were disappointing, but not entirely unexpected by a coach who is desperate to find a strategy that will mesh with his personnel.
“I think it was just getting our guys to communicate better,” Abe said of the team’s defensive improvement later in the game. “Coming right back from spring break, and right into a game and changing formation is tough. They worked their way through it in the second half. They started gelling.”
Orange nearly tacked on another goal in the 27th minute, after forward Keith Ellis sped past Louisa’s defensive backs. Lions goalie Trey Chisholm responded by charging out of the goal to make a sliding stop, one of 13 he made on the day.
To read the entire story, see the April 24 edition of The Central Virginian.