Long-range shots boost Warriors

Published 10:38 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Nansemond River midfielder Chad Kozoyed dribbles away from a Western Branch player Tuesday evening during a district match at Western Branch. Kozoyed scored the third goal of the night as the Warriors won 3-0 to move to 3-2 in the Southeastern District.

CHESAPEAKE — Nansemond River’s boys soccer squad went over the top of host Western Branch for an important 3-0 Southeastern District win Tuesday night.

All three Warrior goals came via long free kicks or long passes played over the top of the Bruin defense. One spell of aggressive Warrior attacking, with two goals in a four-minute span, in the opening half proved to be plenty for the win, which puts the Warriors (6-3-1, 3-2-0) with a winning record in the district a little past halfway through the Southeastern schedule.

Nansemond River’s Ethan Scott got the Warriors on the board in the 17th minute and the Warriors continued on to a 3-0 win at Western Branch Tuesday night.

The Warriors didn’t even need to get free kicks close to the Bruin goal or penalty box to get goals out of them.

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In the 17th minute, defender Nick Leverone took a free kick from a few yards into the Warrior half of the field. Leverone’s 40-yard boot deflected off a Bruin defender at the top of the Bruin box and fell in perfect position for Ethan Scott to blast a right-footed strike into the goal, from 24 yards to a couple feet inside the right post.

The Warriors were threatening anyway throughout the first minutes of the match, but the goal to take the lead came from nowhere and the Warriors went to work with more energy right after Scott’s goal.

Forward Zach Thomas and midfielder Connor MacDonald worked hard to keep a Warrior possession going along the right side of midfield, setting up a long lob forward by MacDonald.

Speedy and lanky Warrior forward Jared Watson sprinted for the ball, hustled to keep the play going despite the defensive efforts of two Bruin backs, then finally struck a shot from near the penalty spot by the keeper for a 2-0 NR lead in the 21st minute.

Western Branch took the attack to the Warriors for long stretches of the second half but couldn’t break through. The Bruins earned repeated free kicks inside the NR half of the field, even a couple in very dangerous spots, but couldn’t capitalize.

Warrior keeper Casey Dye finished with nine saves and got help with a couple crossbars in the second half. Around the 60th minute, one long Bruin shot from near the left sideline nailed the bar. A few moments later a Bruin free kick went for naught, but the ensuing Bruin attack led to another long shot. Dye leapt and tipped the shot enough to have it hit the bar and go out of play.

The Warriors sealed the victory with another opportune free kick and another friendly goalpost.

Chad Kozoyed sent a free kick, 40 yards from goal, that seemed harmless as it bounced through the Bruin box. As the Bruin goalie thought the ball was going wide of the left post, it hit off the post, across the goal and spun beyond the goal line. Kozoyed’s pass-turned-goal made it 3-0 in the 75th minute.

The Bruins finished with a 9-6 margin in shots on goal and a 14-9 advantage in fouls committed, but the scoreboard didn’t wind up reflecting those stats.

Even with four regular season matches left, all Southeastern matches, the Warriors have their home finale Thursday evening against Lakeland at 7 p.m.