By MacKenzie Bates - Sports Editor
Sept. 25, 2013 —
Timing is everything in any sport.
The West Carters boys' soccer team learned that the hard way in Saturday’s All “A” State Sectional game with Paintsville. With a trip to the state tournament on the line, the Tigers’ Zachary Baldwin scored a goal in the final 30 seconds to defeat the Comets 3-2 in Olive Hill.
“They just got the ball deep in to our half and they got a cross in and they put it home,” Comets assistant coach Troy Combs said. “It was unfortunate but it was a good goal.”
Paintsville (10-1-1) used a strong attack from senior midfielder Bradley Nordin, who had two goals in the first half, including one in the 13th minute and 30th minute.
West (7-6-1), not to be outdone on their own field got one of those goals back in the 20th minute of the first half when junior forward Troy Brickles scored off of a rebound to make it 2-1 at halftime.
Combs made some adjustments in the second half and really took Paintsville out of their game.
“We were trying to shut down (Nordin) and we let him get by us a couple of times and he scored two goals,” Combs said. “But we dominated the second half. The ball was on their end of the field and we were getting passes and crosses in and we were playing great.”
West stole all momentum midway through the second half when senior midfielder Tyler Glover put one in the back of the net to tie the game up at 2-2 in the 27th minute.
It was back and forth the rest of the way with the Comets really attacking the goal. Paintsville substituted goalkeepers towards the end of the game and Combs knew that was their opportunity to take the lead but a lapse in fundamentals gave up several scoring chances.
“There was a ball in the back post and nobody was there and our guys know that’s where the ball ends up,” Combs said. “That’s soccer 101 when someone shoots, follow up because chances are you’re going to get a rebound.”
Late in the ballgame, Paintsville took advantage of West Carter’s defense to push the ball towards their goal which set up Baldwin’s game-winner.
“Our boys became kind of undisciplined and made some bad passes and defending and they were able to get the ball down on our half and score,” Combs said. “Our team played well but they have to learn how to play the whole 90 minutes.”
Despite the loss, Combs said his team has turned a corner and now they need to put it together to put themselves back in the hunt for another shot at a state tournament.
“I’m proud of them we’ve had a few games where we haven’t come together but I thought we did (Saturday),” Combs said. “But late in a game, we can’t make mistakes especially when it’s 2-2. We need to be more consistent and be calm under pressure.”
MacKenzie Bates can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 1-800-247-6142.