The Charlottesville boys soccer team banged awfully hard out of the gate at Western Albemarle’s door. The Warriors managed to keep them out in the first half, but after a slew of shots and crosses resulted in narrow misses and saves, the Black Knights broke through 15 minutes into the second half. Two minutes later Charlottesville had a 2-0 lead that stuck as they picked up a critical win at home.
“We’re good at possession, moving the ball around and playing quickly,” said Black Knights coach Stephan Cost. “I think we showed some of our skill tonight and we’re still getting guys back from injuries so once we’re all in shape we’re going to get better. But yeah, at halftime we talked about the need to finish, to score. And obviously we came out and did that. When you do that you get to do more.”
While Western had a couple of decent looks at the net afterwards, the pressure remained mostly on the other end of the field. As such, the Black Knights took down their visiting rivals with a 2-0 win to bounce back quickly after falling to its other rival, Albemarle, just four days prior.
“I think the score was pretty adequate,” said Western coach Milo Oakland. “We got beat. This was a team effort to lose like this. This is not the way we know we can play but Charlottesville was just faster than us, they were winning more tackles, they were more tactical. We got out-coached and out-played. This is something to learn from.”
After plenty of chances, the levy finally broke when Joe von Storch completed a tic-tac-toe connection to find a wide open Campbell Brickhouse flying in unmarked on the right post of the goal. Campbell buried his touch and the Black Knights were officially out in front of game that they had controlled much of the way.
“I saw Joe von Storch streaking in from the right and I know that he had a lot of pace so I tried to slip it in right into his run and as soon as it was a good pass I ran as fast as I could to get a touch on it,” Brickhouse said. “He delivered it perfectly to me right in front of the goal.”
With 23 minutes to play the Black Knights got in the box again and in the process of trying to defend, Western committed a foul. Campbell took the penalty kick and made it look easy going top shelf to the right corner of the net to make it 2-0.
“I remember last year (their keeper) Jack Frey made a save on Abibi Osman’s shot on the ground so I wanted to get into the air,” Brickhill said. “I didn’t look at him, just focused on the ball to get it a little bit of air.”
The Warriors got a pair of good looks with 15 and 14 minutes left, both resulting in saves for Black Knights keeper Nate Fisher. And with the Charlottesville defense bottling up the middle of the field and cleaning things up all game long, the Black Knights were able to pick up a coveted shutout.
“We’ve been working on cleaning up the corners and then also, we play four guys in the back when a lot of teams are playing three now,” Cost said. “We’re sticking with what we’ve been doing for a couple of years now and you look at it and think well maybe this way we’ll attack more from the back and use that fourth man. That’s what we work on and the defense has just been solid all year, even against Albemarle (last week) with the breakdowns we had it was still good.”
The first half was fairly furious with action. Kyle Lenhert and Deo Magar nearly connected on a cross and header five minutes into the game for Charlottesville. Then five minutes later von Storch had a pair of crosses that were just intercepted by Western’s defense.
“I like that our guys are playing 1-touch when they need to, take touches when they can and not just send random balls up the field and chase,” Cost said. “We’re not trying to be that typical high school team that plays kick and chase. It’s nice when (our style) works because it’s good soccer, it’s fun to watch.”
The Warriors got a pair of quality shots from Luke Magagree with 28 and 26 minutes left but neither of those slipped passed Fisher.
“We have talent but this let’s us know that it’s gut check time,” Oakland said. “From the coach down to the last player, it’s whether we want to come together to make this happen or we want our season to end just midway through it.”
Western (8-2, 6-1 JD) heads to Fluvanna County on Wednesday while Charlottesville (8-1, 6-1) hits the road with Louisa County on Thursday.