Although Eastern Alamance’s men’s soccer team got off to a disappointing 1-2 start this fall, with early losses to local rivals Cedar Ridge and Orange, the Eagles got things back on track last Wednesday with a 2-1 road victory at Cummings. After a week off, the Eagles return to action at home Wednesday night with another non-conference match, this one against local rival Williams.
“The results may not be where we would hope but as long as the team is responding to the lessons from these games, I think they will be in good shape,” Eastern head coach Kyle Shave said in an interview. “This is a drastically different team from last year so they are figuring things out. There are a lot of bright spots that we have had and I believe once we realize that we need to put more of them together consistently, we will start to see positive results. I have been encouraged with how the boys have responded so far. It is a great group that works well.”
Against Cummings, Eastern got goals from seniors Jackson Poteat and Chris Guerrero, while junior goalkeeper Kevin Reyes saved 12 Cavaliers shot attempts, allowing only one shot to get past him all evening. The victory evened Eastern’s overall mark to 2-2.
“I thought that Cummings did a great job to apply pressure in the first half. I felt we came out flat and did not play together,” Shave said. “I thought Kevin Reyes had his best game yet in goal and made some very key saves for us. He really carried us in that first half with multiple saves and a wonderful stop on a penalty kick. After we regrouped at half time, I thought the boys did a great job of taking the momentum and applying pressure.
Shave praised some of his veterans for the way they picked the squad up in the victory over Cummings.
“I thought Henry Hohl did a fantastic job of leading the boys and showing that competitive spirit throughout the game,” Shave said. “I thought he was one of the most consistent players this season and I feel fortunate to have him as a captain representing how to approach games competitively. I thought Xzavier Smith was unbelievable on the left side of the defense. As a coach, having a player like Xzavier is a luxury. Defense is about trust and he consistently takes care of his responsibilities, regardless of the game environment. He is a player that impacts not just the defensive side but also offensively when he starts a counterattack. He is incredibly intelligent with his decisions on the field. Overall, I think the boys responded well in the second half to the adversity. I think they learned a great lesson on how competition requires self-discipline.”
EAHS will open Mid-State Conference play next Monday night (September 16) with another home match on the field at Fred Brady Stadium against Northeast Guilford.
“At this point in the season, I think the team is starting to find its flow and players getting a better feel for their roles,” Shave replied. “Going forward, we are looking to keep that goal of improving each day, competing for a full 80 minutes, and ensuring we are looking after each other. I think success for us will follow if we put the best version of ourselves forward. Players giving strong effort regardless of the situation, having a resilient mindset, and remaining open to feedback in areas to improve or work better collectively. If we stay disciplined to the team concept, I think the results will be positive.”