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Bulldogs blank Churchland to start season

With organized defense for all 80 minutes of action, King’s Fork opened its boys soccer season with a 2-0 victory over visiting Churchland Monday night.

Goals in the second half by James Albright and Terrance Alexander provided the scoring, but the Bulldogs held the Truckers to only four shots on goal and sophomore goalie Corey Jefferson handled those four saves.

“We’ve been working on a lot of stuff in practice, so we knew we’d come out as a team and be competitive,” said Albright, a senior midfielder and co-captain along with Alexander.

“Basically we’re making sure we hold our shape and play strong in the midfield area and keep our defense strong. It’s going to have to be strong as we play against better teams,” Albright said.

The Bulldogs succeeded with that idea as even for stretches of the game when the Truckers had more possession and looked a little dangerous, the Bulldogs kept any serious scoring chances from forming.

Just under 10 minutes into the second half, King’s Fork scored after building up the pressure in and around the Churchland box for the first part of the new half.

After back-to-back corner kicks went for nothing, a boot by the Trucker goalie seemed to end the KF attack.

Instead, the Bulldogs won the ball and speedy sophomore Joshua Ramirez chased down a long ball into the Churchland penalty box. Ramirez got his shot away as the Trucker keeper tried to get to him. The Trucker keeper deflected Ramirez’s shot, but the rebound remained less than a step from the goal line. Albright and Ramirez were the first two to the ball and Albright finished the easy goal.

Another attack out of nothing gave KF its important insurance goal.

Deep in Churchland’s half, pressure by Alexander and Joey Byrd caused an errant Trucker clearance. Alexander gained the ball and raced in toward goal.

Two Churchland defenders and the goalie closed in on Alexander about 15 yards from goal. All four players made contact with each other, but somehow Alexander wound up behind all three Trucker players and he could’ve dribbled the ball into the goal if he had chosen to. King’s Fork led 2-0 with 16 minutes remaining.

Churchland had most of the ball and kept the game largely in KF’s half of the field during the closing minutes, but the Bulldogs stayed disciplined, usually with 10 of their 11 players committed to defending, and kept Churchland off the board.

“Hopefully we will be able to keep scoring versus other teams. Churchland was a great team to open against. It was really good competition out there tonight,” Albright said.

King’s Fork’s (1-0, 0-0) schedule is divided neatly into eight non-district games, then nine Southeastern District matches starting on April 20. Last season, the Bulldogs won six straight non-district games to open the season, but then went 1-8 in the SED.

King’s Fork plays at Lake Taylor Friday at 4:30 p.m.