Phoenix Boys Varsity Soccer @ St. Andrews Soccerfest

Hyde School: 1 – St. Andrews: 2

Hyde School: 3 – Rocky Hill: 3

 The boys Varsity Soccer team traveled to Barrington Rhode Island to play in the St. Andrews School Soccerfest on Friday.  They played a match with St. Andrews Friday afternoon and another match with Rocky Hill on Saturday.  The weather for both matches was favorable with warm temperatures and clear skies.

Hyde School: 1 – St. Andrews: 2

 The season started with a great match against the defending NEPSAC Class D Champions.  Play early on was back and forth.  Hyde’s Brandon Nelson, who is returning for a Post Graduate year, scored the first goal in the 4th minute on a header in the box.  Unfortunately, the score was tied only 6 minutes later, the result of an own goal which occurred when the Hyde Keeper mishandled a ball passed back to him from a defender.  The starting offensive midfield; Post Grad Zach Hambleton at center, Scott O’Brien`17 at right, Jed Danforth`19 at left, PG Dylan Budd and Serge Mudogo`18 as holding center midfielders worked to move the ball forward to Wallace Ogens`17 at striker.  Hyde had some good scoring chances, but none converted for goals before time ran out  for the half.  St. Andrews scored their second goal in the 52nd  minute on a 1v1 breakaway.  Defensively, the Phoenix employed a flat back four configuration with Jason Filios`17 outside left, David Hentick`17 left of center, PG Brandon Nelson right of center, and Lawrence Morace`18 at outside right.  They worked together to limit scoring chances by the speedy strikers by setting a high line to catch them in an offside position.  Keeper Greg Kidger`17 had some great saves and helped the team offensively with his powerful punts.

Hyde School: 3 – Rocky Hill: 3

 The Phoenix faced off with Rocky Hill on Saturday.  The match was played on the same grass pitch as the previous day.  It was clear from the start of the match that Rocky Hill was proficient at making quick transitions to an offensive attack by using the speed and skill of their striker to create 1v1 situations on goal.  This worked well for them in the first half of play.  They scored 3 goals in the first half, all employing the same technique, with the same player.  The second half of play started with Hyde giving up a Penalty Kick which was awarded to the opponent for a tackle from behind in the box.  Keeper Greg Kidger`17 made a miraculous save on the PK that ignited a fire within the Phoenix team.  Momentum quickly switched and Hyde started playing the type of soccer they are capable of.  Will Duerr`17 scored in the 57th minute to make it 3-1.  Serge Mudogo`18 scored in the 66th minute, converting on a Zach Hambleton corner kick.  Scott O’Brien`17 scored the tying goal in the 70th minute going 1v1 to the goal.  Hyde won the possession game for the remaining time, but were unable to find the winning goal.

Though we could have had a stronger showing at this event, it was still a good start to the season.  From a tactical standpoint, the team learned a lot about how the 4-5-1 formation plays to our strengths.  Additionally, the high level of play by our opponents exposed some to the challenges we need to address.  Most importantly, the team displayed tremendous grit during the second half of the final game.  They showed glimpses of the type of soccer they are capable of playing when every man on the field is committed to playing at the limits of their potential.  In this way, they started to develop synergy and made their first steps at forming a team from a group of individuals.  Our next match is Wednesday September 21st at 3:00 up at Kents Hill School.

-coach Smith