The Jets soccer team traveled to Rhea County Tuesday night to take on the Golden Eagles and fought to a 2-2 tie.
Early in the game, on a strong transitional defense to offense play, defender/captain Drew Talford assisted midfielder/captain Shawn Foster to put the Jets up 1-0. The ball moved well for the Jets, as midfielders Alex Pribanich, Brandon Brown, Todd Wisor and Shawn Foster worked with forwards Jarrod Lee and Francisco Chavez to achieve their game set goals.
“Each game we set a series of goals that we must strive to accomplish. More than half our team is either new to soccer or has never played a varsity sport. Setting goals helps us to realistically check our progress,” said Coach Cub Whitson.
The youth of the defense was seen as the Jets suffered a major setback with an injury to defender Drew Talford. Jeremy Miller stepped in to lead the backline with Hayden Smith, Gene Moss and Zeth Bolin, but the Golden Eagles took advantage of the Jets, putting two behind the net of keeper Xane Hazelwood.
“Being under intense pressure in the mid and 'D' from Rhea County, we were lucky to have come out the half behind one. I was extremely proud of Xane. He held his composure, stayed positive, remained vocal to lead the defense and did his best. It’s all we can ask for! And the 14 saves is just an example of how well Xane played” said assistant Coach AnDrea Marshall.
At the half, the Jets trailed 2-1. Coaches Whitson and Marshall made huge changes to the lineup and the formation to start the half. Forward Captain Jarrod Lee rose to the occasion and filled the spot for Talford, shutting down the Golden Eagles center attacks. “We took a protective approach to give us time to set up an offensive attack” said Coach Whitson.
An offensive attack was exactly what the Jets executed with about ten minutes to play as the formation of the Jets once again changed. The pace of the Jets was quick and meaningful as Foster assisted Wisor on his impressive career first goal.
The Jets continued with the pressure and within two minutes Foster assisted the relentlessly attacking Francisco Chavez to tie the game.
Both teams fought hard in the closing minutes and took a draw. Yet, for the Jets it was extremely meaningful to see the bond between the players solidify and the determination they had to accomplish their goals.
Jets travel Tuesday, March 19, to Smith County, with varsity kicking off at 5:15 CDT. Jets host their first game of the season Thursday, March 21, against Oneida.