Colonels squeeze by Pioneers

April 18, 2012
By Jerry Holsworth

Special to The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Millbrook must have felt snake bitten after its Northwestern District boys’ soccer game Tuesday at James Wood.

Through much of the game the Pioneers dominated play, outshooting the Colonels 6-0 in the first half alone.

But it’s not the shots you take that matter, it’s the ones you make, and Wood (5-2, 2-0 Northwestern District), off a penalty kick by senior midfielder Chandler DeHaven, made the one that mattered most in a 1-0 victory over Millbrook.

DeHaven’s goal, coming with 28 minutes to play in the second half, was Wood’s first shot of the game.

“This was beyond frustrating,” Millbrook coach Keith Kilmer said. “Even after they scored, we still kept attacking them. This is now the second game in a row where I felt we controlled the game, and still lost. We just have to fight through this. The season is still young, and there’s no quit in this team.” It certainly didn’t look like a Colonel victory through most of the game. After a 10-minute battle to begin the game for control of midfield, the Pioneers (4-6, 0-3) began attacking James Wood’s goal relentlessly.

By the 25-minute mark of the first half, Millbrook had outshot the Colonels 4-0 and several of the Pioneer shots came dangerously close to finding the back of the net.

Wood goalkeeper Joe Kysela was more than up to the task, however, making four first-half saves to keep the game scoreless heading into halftime.

“They took a lot of shots at our goal,” Kysela said. “They certainly had plenty of opportunities to score. Our defense really hustled out there to keep them from getting more shots than they did.”

Things didn’t change much to begin the second half. Millbrook hammered two shots at the Colonel goal in the first five minutes of the half, and had outshot Wood 3-0 with 30 minutes still left in the game.

Then everything suddenly changed.

Colonel forward Jon Henriques got the ball inside the penalty area and began to maneuver for a shot. Pioneer defender Josh Lee, determined to not let the James Wood junior get a chance to shoot or cross the ball, hammered Henriques twice in the penalty area.

The second time Henriques went down, and the official called a foul. DeHaven stepped up and blasted the ensuing penalty kick by Millbrook goalkeeper Caleb Schneider to put Wood up 1-0 with 28 minutes to play.

“Jon got the ball and was working really hard,” DeHaven said. “They tripped him, and that gave us our chance. It was an opportunity that I was not going to let slip away.”

DeHaven’s goal not only gave the Colonels the lead, it also changed the momentum of the game.

“I think that goal really pumped us up,” DeHaven said. “We began to play much better after that, particularly on defense.”

The Colonels, who had been losing almost every free ball, now began to win those loose balls. That resulted in more scoring opportunities, and after DeHaven’s penalty kick, James Wood actually outshot Millbrook 6-5.

“Chandler’s goal really fired us up,” Kysela said. “We wanted to score again, and we were passing the ball much better after that.”

Although the Colonels were having more success, it didn’t mean that the Pioneers had given up. As the clock ticked down, Millbrook worked desperately to get the equalizer, and the final 15 minutes of the game were a thrilling display of both teams at their best.

With 15 minutes to play, the Pioneers worked the ball close to James Wood’s goal, and Millbrook forward Mark Guntle launched a blistering shot from 20 yards out. Kysela, however, made a diving save to keep his Colonels ahead.

Guntle was stymied all night by the play of center back Michael Carter, who hounded him the whole night and the Pioneer senior shot with 15 minutes left was his last of the game.

“It was really nice to keep them scoreless,” Colonel coach Chris Hild said. “I really have to give a lot of credit to our keeper and our defense. I thought that Michael Carter had a great game guarding Guntle. That took some wind out of their sails on offense.”

With five minutes left, though, Millbrook’s last real chance to tie the game caused a melee at the Wood net.

When a Pioneer free kick bounced straight down off the crossbar, Millbrook had a golden opportunity to tie the score with a header, but Kysela grabbed the ball in traffic to save Wood’s lead.

“I was really nervous,” Kysela said. “I really didn’t see where the ball went after it hit the crossbar. I saw one of their players try to head it in, and he missed. The ball popped back up and I grabbed it.”

 

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