The Rebels took full advantage of their opportunities and fought off the Trojans’ offensive onslaught to take away an impressive 2-1 win Friday in the Jon Metcalf Invitational soccer tournament at Eastman Park.
West (8-2-4) had 33 shots, six on goal, but could not find a solution to South’s stingy defense.
“We just tried to keep it simple in the back,’’ said South coach Stephen Fuchs. “We looked for the counters early and that got us the quick lead.’’
The Rebels opened scoring in the 19th minute. Trojans goalkeeper Jose Martinez muffed a punt and the short kick landed right at the feet of South’s Adam Griffith, who one-timed the ball over the retreating Martinez’s head and into the net.
Martinez was immediately replaced in goal by Ben Young.
The remainder of the first half, West dominated the first two-thirds of the field but couldn’t penetrate South’s back line. Sixteen first-half shots produced five shots on goal for the Trojans, with none causing Rebels goalkeeper Aaron Pinto much consternation.
Jordan Willingham provided what eventually became the Rebels’ game-winner midway through the second half. On a perfectly served corner kick from Adam Fenyves, Willingham slipped in behind the West defenders and headed the ball past Young.
“That was a great ball from Adam,’’ Willingham said. “The defender never saw me and all I had to do was get my head on the ball.’’
Fuchs applauded Willingham’s alert play.
“Jordan has consistently been our best player in the air,’’ South’s coach noted. “Being up 2-0 was huge.’’
Playing with increased urgency, the Trojans continued to pressure the South defense.
Finally, in the 70th minute, West’s Taylor Carter found himself one on one with Pinto, who made a reaction save on the first shot. But the rebound deflected right back to Carter, who made no mistake with his second chance.
It was too little, too late.
South (8-1-1) controlled the final 10 minutes of play and kept the Trojans at bay.
“We had so many chances but couldn’t convert,’’ said West coach Todd Bradley. “Sometimes that just happens.
“South did a great job today. They were well- coached and earned the win.’’
In spite of just nine shots, four on goal, the Rebels won where it counted most: on the scoreboard.
“A win like this is good for the guys,’’ Fuchs added. “It shows that all the hard work and heart they put into the game will get them anywhere.
“As they get into postseason they need to remember a victory like this. It was crucial for them.’’
The Rebels play Webb School at 10 a.m. today at Eastman Park, followed by a 7 p.m. match against Seymour at Indian Highland Park.