FBCS soccer shoots for .500

Published 9:05 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Baptist Christian junior midfielder/forward Kyle Pinto takes a corner kick during their 4-1 victory over visiting Rock Church on Tuesday afternoon. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)

In a season fraught with some difficult losses, the First Baptist Christian varsity boys’ soccer team turned in a 4-1 victory over visiting Rock Church School on Tuesday afternoon at the SYAA fields.

“(This) game is definitely a relief from some of the other games we have played,” Crusaders head coach Steven Milner said.

Eighth-grade forward Zach Pauley got a hat trick, and fellow eighth grader Matt Shaffer also scored for the Crusaders (3-5), who had a total of 38 shots on goal.

Email newsletter signup

The score was 1-0 at halftime, but Pauley added his second goal less than five minutes into the second half.

“Zach had a great game,” Milner said. “He knows where to be at the right time, he’s got a great shot, and he’s a great asset to the team, and I just hope I can hold onto him for the remainder of his scholastic career.”

Coming into this game, Milner said that he was not sure how it would play out and decided to stick with his normal lineup until early in the second half.

“Then at the second half when we went up 2-0,” he said, “I started giving other players the chance to just have the ability to go up.”

Later in the second half, Pauley completed his hat trick, but then midfielder/defender Shaffer scored less than a minute later.

“Matthew Shaffer being able to get his first goal of his career with First Baptist was a real great thing for today,” Milner said.

Senior and team captain Wayne Conner anchored the game defensively for First Baptist and saw real positives in the team’s performance that accounted for the win.

“We worked as a team, we passed the ball, we didn’t just run it up every single time,” Conner said. “And we took the shots when we could.”

While the Crusaders were obviously the better team, the Lions still made several forays into First Baptist territory, which lead to 14 keeper saves and a goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game.

A foul on the Crusaders in the goal area set up a penalty kick that Lions senior center forward Greg Hill slotted to the left side past seventh grade keeper Simon Mogren.

Milner was not sure how the Crusaders would perform coming into the year and neither did some of the players. Conner admitted that his impression at the outset was of a team not ready to face the coming season.

“We were going to definitely have to put some work into it, because we have a bunch of young players, new to the game,” he said. “We got to teach them and they got to learn quick, but the little kids have been learning pretty well.”

Pauley said that while the team looked shaky in the preseason, the regular season has been a different story.

“They’ve been doing a lot better since day one,” Zach Pauley said.

“I’m very pleased so far,” Milner said. “Our losses have been some rough losses. The wins have been refreshing when they have come, but I was hoping for at least at a .500 season this year. We’re close to that right now, but we got some tough games coming up.”

Those losses, which have included two 8-0 blowouts, have been difficult to weather, but Milner has been able to pinpoint what the team needed to improve upon in those games for the future.

“Getting them to play as a team and getting them to talk,” he said, “that’s the toughest part and that’s the thing we’re still lacking in our season.”

The Crusaders have six regular season games in which to incorporate these elements, including a home game against Virginia Beach Friends School on Monday.