After a three-week respite over the holidays, the Seahawk boys varsity soccer team got back in action Jan. 5, as they hosted North Bay Haven.
Tied 1 -1 at the half, and 2-2 with about 20 minutes left, the Seahawks lost 3-2 as the Buccaneers put the ball into the net to secure the victory.
“By the end of the game our guys were tired,” said coach LeGrand McLemore. “Our fitness level coming back after break was lower than it should have been.
“We didn’t practice very much over break, we let the guys rest because they had a pretty grueling beginning to the season, with three away games in a week most of the time,” he said.
“Our fitness was what hurt us for the last 20 minutes of the game and let North Bay Haven come in and score that final goal,” McLemore said. “We just had some breakdowns in play due to our fitness level.”
At Saturday’s home outing against St. John Paul II, the Panthers had a slim 2-1 lead after the first half, before breaking the game open in the second for a 6-1 win.
“Today’s score was not reflective of what actually occurred during the game,” said McLemore.
The team’s lone goal was scored by junior Esteban Bernabe, on an assist by senior Luis Ramirez.
“Being a team that has a lower overall skill level of the opponents that we play, we have to be at the top of our mental game to continue to compete with these guys,” said the coach. “We lost our focus.”
McLemore and assistant coach Ken Fedak have been working on improving different aspects of the team’s play.
“We need to be clearing the ball out of play when an opponent has a scoring opportunity,” McLemore said. “We’re trying to pass the ball to another player rather than kick the ball out of bounds, kick the ball up the field, to let us reset, and give us some space and time to reset. We;’re not doing that.”
“Also we’ve been misjudging the ball and not winning the ball in the air,” he said. “Not winning a head ball, not winning a ball that’s kicked and taking it off the chest. Just standing and letting the other team assert their dominance. The ball’s in the air and we’re just not squaring up with the guys and going up for it.”
On Tuesday, the Seahawks hosted Bay, a Class 4A team now 7-4-2 overall.
The team then has three away games, Jan. 12 at Jefferson County, Jan. 13 at Bozeman and Jan. 16 at North Bay Haven before returning home Jan. 18 for a second match-up against Jefferson County.