In the final game of the inaugural season, the Severance Silver Knights hosted the Windsor Wizards. The Silver Knights have enjoyed a nice season which has been highlighted by progress. Both Coach Hoffman and Coach Scharfenberg have been pleased with the changes in attitude from the players as the season has gone on. Moving into the biggest game of the year, the Silver Knights were carrying quite a lot of confidence due to their improved play and technical ability on the ball. This game was of particular anticipation as the Sophomore Silver Knights had played for the Windsor Wizards program last year. The relationships made were sure to add some extra fire to begin this cross-town rivalry.
The start of the game began with emotions running high. As was expected, the initial rush of nerves and energy saw the first ten minutes full passion without the attacking quality from either team. After about 13 minutes of play, the home team struck first. Jahaziel Gonzales was able to apply pressure in the midfield and ended up picking the ball off of a Windsor defender. from there, Jahaz found Tyler DiPietro with a bouncing ball. Thanks to Tyler’s persistence and hard-work, Tyler was able to scrap through the Windsor defense and beat the keeper with a left-footed shot; 1-0 to the Silver Knights. This goal was Tyler’s 16th in 14 games.
After the goal, the Silver Knights continued to dominate play via excellent defensive effort and work rate in the midfield. Christian Zavas and Kyler Lutz were bossing play in the midfield for Severance and ended up making the second goal possible. After locking the Wizards into their defensive half, Jordan Thompson was able to fight hard to earn SHS a corner. As is so often the case, Jordan’s defensive effort was handsomely rewarded. The corner kick, which was swung in by Jahaziel, was partially cleared by Windsor. With a heads-up play, Jordan was able to punish the Windsor defense by picking up the rebound and burying the ball past the outstretched arms of the Wizard’s goalkeeper. This goal rightfully put the Silver Knights up 2-0. With 15 minutes remaining in the first half, the Wizards started to wake up. After continuing to press the game, the Silver Knights found themselves very unlucky to concede a goal. After failing to clear their lines, the Severance defense attempted to block a shot amidst a scramble for the ball. The ball, which was deflected, made its way over the head of Aidan Campbell and under the bar. At half, the score was 2-1.
3/4 of the first half was dictated by the home side, but the last 10 minutes of play belonged to the Windsor Wizards. A couple of key substitutions from Windsor seemed to add the much needed energy for the opposition. The halftime talk in the Severance locker room was full of confidence, but also a guarded caution-filled message to the young Silver Knights boys soccer team. After feeling full of energy and excitement, the unlucky goal seemed to take the wind out of the sails of Severance. The second half began in a relatively even 10 minutes of play. After a series of tentative defensive efforts from Severance, Windsor struck again on another tough goal. The main cause of concern, from a defensive standpoint, was the inability to make confident and effective clearances while pinned back . While not glorious, strong clearances go a long ways in securing much needed breaks for the defensive back-line. Windsor brought a lot of pressure and it was just a matter of time before the visitors broke through.
In another very unfortunate series of events, Severance conceded a penalty kick, one which should not have been allowed to happen. Severance turned the ball over in the midfield and saw their back-line exposed to a counter-attacking move. While the timing was close, a through ball found an offsides Windsor forward. The flag did not go up from the sideline official and in an effort to recover, a clumsy tackle in the box produced a PK for Windsor. The PK was converted and the score was now 3-2.
Just as Severance was gaining back some attacking promise, another poorly cleared ball found the feet of #9 from Windsor, who slotted the ball past the outstretched arms of Aidan Campbell. Aidan did get his fingers to the shot, but the power behind the shot was just too much. At 4-2, with 5 minutes remaining, the game was done and dusted.
While the game was very disappointing for the Silver Knights, the overall experience is one that will greatly benefit this young Severance soccer team. After feeling the jubilation of high performance in a game with great stakes and pressure, the sting of defeat is one that will surely stick with these boys for some time to come. As a team comprised of only Freshmen and Sophomores, the Silver Knights were unable to lean on experience to grind out the ups and downs of the beautiful game. Soccer can be such a cruel game, as Severance found out in the first half. A more experienced team may have been able to see out the 2-0 lead and get into halftime with a two-goal advantage. To Windsor’s credit, the visiting team seized the opportunity to press the game with their back’s against the wall to make the game 2-1.
The Silver Knights will undoubtedly learn from this intense Friday afternoon against their rivals. 2020 will see Severance Boys Soccer enter their first season as a full Varsity team. While this jump is likely to be a difficult one, it is games like this one that leave the Silver Knights with renewed optimism. The first half was indeed dominated by the young Knights. This Windsor team is a good one, and these same players will represent the Wizard varsity team next season. Windsor is a 5A team this year and the Silver Knights went toe to toe with them. To say that the coaches are proud of these boys would be an understatement. Now, the opportunity to improve and build this program lies in the capable hands of these Freshmen and Sophomores. The ceiling for Severance Boys Soccer is extremely high, but this ceiling will only be reached if the boys take on the individual responsibility of working hard to take their game to the next level. 2019 was a good one and we cannot wait to see what is in-store for 2020. #GoSilverKnights