ORANGE PARK - Coming into Wednesday night’s district championship matchup, St. Johns Country Day School’s boys soccer team knew even after an outstanding 13-3 regular season, they had their hands …
ORANGE PARK - Coming into Wednesday night’s district championship matchup, St. Johns Country Day School’s boys soccer team knew even after an outstanding 13-3 regular season, they had their hands full with perineal powerhouse St. Joseph Academy Flashes coming into town.
“They are a team that were district champion the last 7-8 years,” said Spartans coach Brad Schmidt. “I told the kids we have to settle in and play. We’re not super deep so we’re not able to make a lot of subs in a game at this level.”
Schmidt used all the weapons at his disposal to thwart off an early, aggressive Flash attack to bring his own attack into play. At the end of regulation, neither team could cross the plane of the goal. Now with one in and win overtime, his team needed one last push. Tonight, it was the Flashes that only needed 1:14 and one shot on goal to end the Spartan’s season with a 1-0 overtime loss.
In the first half, without having the experience needed, the first 20 minutes of play saw the Spartans with playoff jitters as the Flashes got off several attacks. The Spartans regrouped and counter attacked, putting out notice that they didn’t make it this far by accident. In the second half, it was more of the same. Tussle around mid-field, gain possession, and launch an offensive attack. Both teams Defense’ would demonstrate their season long honed skills as nothing would break through for either team. At the end of regulation, it was back to the drawing board as both teams came out with a fresh plan of attack.
With about a minute into overtime play, the Flashes went on attack. Working the ball down the sideline, they found a striker in behind a Spartan defender, lobbed the ball in, and with one kick, it was over.
After the game, Schmidt told his players “If you look how much we improved, even with under age and being under sized, so next year what happens? We have some seniors, we come back and we fix it next year. If you look at the schedule we had, at the beginning of the season, I’m not sure you’d be thinking 13-3. Life is full of disappoints. It’s what you do with it that matters.”