By Douglas Brenneman, Golden Triangle News Service
WASHINGTON ? When coaching against the school one played at, there is always extra incentive to win. Washington boys soccer head coach Sally Hart has yet to enjoy that feeling and after Mt. Pleasant High School took a 3-1 Southeast Conference victory Monday at Washington.
?That?s my alma mater, so it is always interesting to see the maroon on the other side going against me,? Hart said. ?You always want to win against your hometown. I haven?t done it yet but will have another chance down there this season.?
The visiting Panthers had a 1-0 lead at halftime thanks to a goal by Jadyn Vongsavath with 28 minutes, 29 seconds left in the first half. The Panthers scored off a corner kick when David Blancas sent the ball into the box area and Vongsavath headed it into the net.
?I think that is our fourth goal off of a header this year,? Panthers head coach Neil Schmitz said. ?That is more than we?ve had in the last 10 years. We have not worked on that very much in practice, but it seems like headers are doing it for us this year. That?s good. That?s fun.?
Not a minute had elapsed in the second half when the score was tied at 1-1.
Walker Ikerd stole the ball and dribbled 20 yards, then unleashed a 20-yard shot that scored for the Demons.
?That was so nice to see because he is a work horse,? Hart said. ?I?m pretty sure that is the first one of his career in varsity. Between him and his twin brother Garrett, I never wonder if they are going to give me 100 percent. They just do it every game and every practice.?
Although the Panthers controlled much of the possession in the first half and had more chances, the second half was much more even.
?We have really been working on our passing in practice,? Schmitz said. ?Our first two games we had great possession but we got away from it after that. It is good to see that come back today.?
?Our first half was kind of like Friday?s when we just don?t come out fast enough,? Hart said. ?We were able to tie it up and for a long time I thought we were going to go into overtime.?
?They came out strong in the second half and let us know that they weren?t done,? Schmitz said. ?It was good for that to happen to our guys and make them respond. We continued to play ball hard and kept the pressure on.?
With 13:14 remaining in the match, Kyle Medina corralled a rebound and sent it back in past the goalkeeper?s outstretched arms for a 2-1 Panthers lead.
An own goal a couple minutes later clinched the win.
One of the Washington players was trying to clear the ball and he just mis-kicked it.
?We?ll take the point,? Schmitz said. ?We needed it. A two-goal lead was better than where we were at.?
?It was unfortunate, but that kind of thing happens,? Hart said.
The Panthers improve to 4-1, 3-1 in the league and play at Fairfield Thursday.