Boys Varsity Soccer
By Joshua Woolverton
COOKSVILLE—Sometimes you have to play the hand you’re dealt.
For Mount Airy Christian Academy (MACA) that meant facing a Maryland Independent Athletic Conference opponent in Covenant Life without four key players forcing the team to shuffle their roster. The roster shuffle and a slow start contributed to a 3-0 loss dropping the MACA Lions to 3-3-1 and third in the conference on Sept. 17.
“The guys we are missing are all players who have played a lot before,” MACA coach Aaron Schuetz said. “We are missing our leadership and guys who can play lots of minutes.”
The Lions struggled in the first half. There were miscommunications and missed defensive assignments. The team got stuck in their own end and gave up multiple shot attempts.
“The first 20 minutes we seemed a little slow and we were not hustling or pressuring the ball as well as we can,” Schuetz said.
With starting goalie Travis Hovermale out injured, the team turned to sophomore Cody Hitchcock to be their last line of defense. He had not played goalie since middle school and he was tested early. He came up with nine saves on the day. Seven of them came in the first 30 minutes.
“My biggest challenge has been remembering the technique with positioning and placement,” Hitchcock said. “The first half was a little bit rough.”
In the second half, the Lions looked much more aggressive and focused. They challenged ball possession and forced some errors.
“We changed our mental attitude and we played a much better second half,” Schuetz said. “It was one of the fundamentally best defensive halves we’ve had this year.”
However, it was not enough to overcome the Covenant Life Cougars. Sophomore Tommy Stockton scored twice in the first half and Kendrick Petit iced the game by scoring late in the second half.
“I think the biggest thing to take away from this win is confidence.” Cougars coach John Bronson said. “These guys know what to do, but to actually do it and see it work and lead to a win is when the confidence grows.”
For the Lions, the plan is to have everyone back healthy and ready to play by next game.
“Getting our guys back will help tremendously,” Scheutz said. “Guys will be able to play their natural position rather than having them all moving around. It will give everyone some confidence and allow us to play some better soccer.”
MACA’s next game will be against Perry Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at Western Regional Park.