Although the middle school soccer team at Christian Heritage Academy (CHA) is still seeking a standout, breakthrough first victory of the year, there is no denying the amount of experience it is gaining.
Entering the final stages of their season, the young Knights (0-4) have seen two difficult tasks in playing against Roanoke Valley Christian School (Home, Sept. 13, 5-1 loss) and the Southwest Virginia Homeschoolers (Home, Sept. 18, 7-0 loss). Positives have been found from head coach Greg DeBoer, though.
“It was the best game of the three they have played so far,” he said of the game against Roanoke Valley Christian School (RVCS).
Only having 12 players, CHA did what it could and utilized its resources appropriately to best work through the tough defensive sets of the Eagles. William Johnson found the modus operandi as the only Knight to find the net on a goal. He also had three saves at goalie in the first half. Nick Arrington claimed the keeper role in the second and halted seven shots.
Varsity soccer, too, has seen its fair share of difficulty, but keeps seeing noteworthy performances.
Blake Johnson’s 30 save outing in the goal against the Southwest Virginia Homeschoolers (Home, Sept. 10, 7-0 L) fell into this category, as well as the addition of two new players on the team (David Custer and Stephanie Gonzalez).
DeBoer has been developing his varsity Knights (1-3-1) to fight even during insurmountable barriers, like the eventually mercy-ruled, 8-0 loss against RVCS.
“The silver lining is that this team did not give up and kept pushing thought the game which makes me proud of these young men,” he said of the home game Sept. 13.
The most riveting of all the matches this season for CHA was its 4-3, comeback victory over Temple Sept. 4 on the road. When the two played at home Sept. 20, the Knights had the chance for the season sweep, yet came just short, tying 2-2, in an overtime thriller.
Just after halftime, CHA’s newly-added player, David Custer, found his team’s first goal of the evening to take the lead. Then, the Knights fouled a Temple player in the box, granting it the penalty kick and didn’t miss the chance to tie, 1-1.
One of William Johnson’s three shots on goal gave CHA the lead late in the second half, of which Temple responded despite a heroic effort by brother and keeper, Blake Johnson.
Although the Knights came into overtime firing on all cylinders with multiple shots at the goal, neither team could get the advantage after two five minute periods. 90 minutes of excitement ended in a tie, 2-2.
“It was an exciting game and our team played well and fought hard to the end,” DeBoer added. “I was very proud of our team.”
The middle school Knights will appear next on the road Oct. 2 at Halifax Christian School, with both teams appearing Oct. 4 at home against Westover.