Calvary tops Crusaders in conference tourney

Published 11:53 pm Friday, October 24, 2008

PORTSMOUTH – Calvary Christian defeated First Baptist 8-2 on Thursday in the first round of the Eastern Virginia Athletic Conference’s boys soccer tournament at Sweethaven Christian Academy.

First Baptist gained the early lead thanks to a goal by Russ Ballance, but the 1-0 advantage lasted only three minutes and Calvary Christian went on to build a 5-1 halftime lead.

Of the 18 Crusaders on First Baptist’s roster, 15 are sixth-graders through sophomores, and would be mostly at the junior varsity level at larger schools or in more established programs. This season is the first for the Crusaders at the varsity level. So in some one-on-one tests around the soccer pitch, 12- or 13-year-olds are competing against 17- or 18-year-olds.

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The Crusaders’ first goal scorer on the day, Ballance, is one of three sixth-graders. First Baptist’s main offensive playmaker, Pete Twisdale, a lanky, but speedy and physical, junior who co-led the EVAC in goals scored during the regular season with 14, set up the attacking play.

Twisdale chased down a ball played into the left side of Calvary’s penalty box, fended off a defender who tried to shoulder him off the ball, then shot past the keeper, but across the face of the goal. Ballance was first to the free ball, sliding to make sure he was there ahead of a Calvary player, he poked the ball into the open net, giving the Crusaders the lead seven minutes into the match.

Calvary converted on a corner kick three minutes later, then scored to take the lead in the 17th minute. By halftime, Calvary had outshot First Baptist 25-7. First Baptist’s goalkeeper, Wes Hughes, made 11 saves in the first half and wound up with 18 by the time he was subbed out of goal in the last few minutes of the match.

The field at Sweethaven is about 85 yards from end-to-end, so as soon as one team cleared a ball out of its defensive end, an attack was on. By the end of an entertaining match, Calvary had 46 total shots and 26 on goal; the Crusaders had 14 shots with 11 on goal.

First Baptist scored midway through the second half as D.J. Daniels had his first shot saved, but he was quick to get the rebound and put away his second shot. Daniels’ goal made it 6-2 Calvary in the 61st minute.