Spartans Pick Up Team Win
WILKES-BARRE — Any time a Valley West boys soccer player held the ball too long, his coach was quick to call for a pass.
Charlie Whited doesn’t seem too concerned with a star player emerging from his Spartans roster. Instead, he was looking for quick passes to keep his offense moving as a unit Wednesday.
When everything went according to plan, Valley West got enough easy opportunities to pull away for yet another win. Four different Spartans scored goals as Valley West defeated Coughlin, 4-1, at The Bog in a WVC Division 1 matchup.
It’s the fourth consecutive win for Valley West (4-2, 3-1 Division 1). After back-to-back shutouts to open the season, the Spartans have outscored opponents 16-6, including three matches with only one goal allowed.
“It looks like they’re coming along real nice. When they get the ball at their foot, they’re playing well. I can’t complain right now,” Whited said. “They’re playing hard. This is a close group. These guys like each other.”
It didn’t take long for Valley West to get on the board, as Saquan Portee found a passing lane to Scott Nilson in the middle of the box. He shot in traffic and got the bounce he needed off the right post for a 1-0 lead.
Coughlin’s Logan Davison made it a tie game in the first half when a pair of headers sent the ball his way in the middle of the attacking zone. He took a chance on a volley, and the tricky shot dipped low enough to get under the crossbar for a goal.
“Those are the things that we need. You got to be eager to take those kind of shots,” Coughlin coach Gerry Kashuda said. “We just got to keep getting quality shots on net. The goals will come. They just got to be patient.”
But the Crusaders (1-4-1 Division 1) couldn’t take control of the game from there.
Valley West answered not even a minute later with more strong teamwork in the offensive end. Kevin Grodzki gave a nice feed to Landon Serbin in the box. He took a step toward net and beat the keeper with his right foot.
Just before halftime, Alieu Jallow fought one-on-one with a defender for a loose ball in front of the net. He won possession while walling off the defender, giving himself a clean look on goal for a 3-1 lead.
The first-half showing was what’s gotten the Spartans on their current roll. They didn’t force much but waited until the cracks showed for them to pass inside and break down the defense.
“We’re preaching this year more than ever: Get it off your foot. Don’t hold it too long, let’s get it off our foot,” Whited said. “Every time we get it off our foot, you notice good things are happening. They see it.”
The Spartans maintained their lead for much of the second half until Nate Naugle gave them some extra breathing room in the final two minutes. He won a race for a long ball sent from the defensive end and dribbled around the keeper for a look at a wide open net.
FIRST HALF: Scott Nilson (VW) from Saquan Portee, 32:30; Logan Davison (Cou) from Jacob Cortez, 24:11; Landon Serbin (VW) from Kevin Grodzki, 23:10; Alieu Jallow (VW) unassisted, 0:19.
SECOND HALF: Nate Naugle (VW) unassisted, 24:11.
SHOTS: VW 16, Cou 11. CORNERS: VW 4, Cou 1. SAVES: VW (Chris Stoodley) 10, Cou (David Sikora) 12.
Contact the writer:
@CVEricShultz on Twitter.