After an 11-month hiatus, the South Laurel Boys Soccer team got back on the field on Tuesday, taking on the Frederick Douglass Broncos in the opening round of the Madison Central Tribe Shootout.
The Cardinals dropped a 1-0 decision to Douglass, but Coach Joey Marcum said his squad was happy to be back on the field.
“It has been right at 11 months since we last played. We haven’t faced another opponent in that long, and it took us a while to get back into the rhythm of the game. We started tentatively at first,” said Marcum. “Overall, I was very pleased with how we played. Frederick Douglass has a very good team.”
The one-goal loss, did not come without it’s opportunities for a shootout. Marcum said the Cardinals had several chances to score throughout the game, but could not capitalize. In the first half, South Laurel had their best scoring opportunity of the night, when their striker was taken down from behind in the box. No call was made, and Frederick Douglass took over the possession.
In the second half, a similar situation took place, in which a Cardinals defender took down a Douglass striker. South Laurel received a yellow card, and the Broncos were able to score on the next possession. Those two calls were the turning points in the game.
“The call in the first half felt like it would have been to our advantage. Then it went the other way in the second half,” said Marcum. “They got the shot and that is where their momentum really started. The ball was banging around in there and they came out with a goal.”
For the first game of the season, Marcum said both teams made mistakes throughout the night. He was happy with his team’s play, especially their defense. He noted that Jesus Lopez and goalkeeper Tucker Little stood out against a very good Broncos’ offense.
“They had a team who loved to shoot. I thought our defense was very solid against them,” said Marcum. “Jesus Lopez played probably the best match he’s had since he was a JV guy. He was everywhere we needed him to be. Tucker Little, our keeper, made some great saves for us, too.”
While the loss gives South Laurel a 0-1 record to start the season, Marcum said his team is gaining more experience every time they step on the field, and he believes the best is still ahead of them.
“We have a lot of seniors who start for us. They have a lot of minutes, but not a lot of them were starters last year,” said Marcum. “We have a lot of soccer this week. We play Knox Central at home on Thursday, then finish this tournament on Saturday and Sunday. It’ll be good for us.”