SCA kicks off season with 8-0 win

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Suffolk Christian Academy sophomore Steven Effler looks to add to his team's lead during Tuesday's season opener against the visitors from Victory Christian School. The Knights won 8-0 and hope to improve significantly on last year's 4-12 overall record.

Suffolk Christian Academy sophomore Steven Effler looks to add to his team’s lead during Tuesday’s season opener against the visitors from Victory Christian School. The Knights won 8-0 and hope to improve significantly on last year’s 4-12 overall record.

Suffolk Christian Academy boys’ soccer coach Steven Milner finds himself in a familiar position this year with a young team, but Tuesday’s 8-0 season-opening win against Victory Christian School was not a bad way to start.

Milner did not allow himself to be swayed by the final lopsided score, weighing both the positives and the negatives of his team’s performance.

“It’s always a positive when you can put up that many goals against an opponent, but to only be up 1-0 at halftime with as much possession and as many shots as we had was a little bit of a disappointment,” he said.

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He did like some of what he was seeing at the beginning of the game, though.

“They were working their passes, their angles, they were moving,” he said. “They were talking.”

They just were not finding the holes to score much until the second half, and Milner said they came then mostly because the defense was tired.

Once the lead started to build, he made frequent substitutions, giving playing time to many players.

The Knights have 19 players on the roster, the majority of them home schoolers.

“My starters are my varsity, and my backups are basically middle-schoolers, so I have another pretty much young team,” he said.

Last year, the team went 4-12 overall and 2-10 in conference play for the regular season. It lost in the first round of the Seven Cities Athletic Conference tournament.

Milner has several players that have him feeling optimistic about the coming year, and some of them shined on Tuesday.

Sophomore Steven Effler will be key on offense for the Knights.

“He’s going to lead my line at the forward position,” Milner said.

SCA will be without Zach Pauley this year, who opted to focus on his soccer opportunities via the Suffolk Youth Athletic Association.

Effler rose to the occasion on Tuesday, kicking off the team’s scoring with the first half’s lone goal.

Senior Kyle Pinto, last year’s assist-leader on the team, will be returning this year in his dual role.

“He’ll be in goal and midfield for us throughout the season,” Milner said.

Milner expects junior David Day to be a standout in the mid-field with his aggressive play, being able to win the ball back, move it up to the forwards and also score from outside the box. Day showed those expectations were well-founded on Tuesday, as he scored twice.

“Our defense is going to be anchored by a returning junior, Nathan Leiter,” Milner said. “He was the most improved player on our team last year and he’s going to step up again this year.”

Leiter, a junior, scored the first goal of his career off a header in the second half on Tuesday.

Right before that, sophomore Michael Cornette, who was playing in his first-ever game of organized soccer, also scored off a header.

Rounding out the rest of the scoring was sophomore Kenneth Barrick, senior Collin Dennys and eighth-grader Brian McIntyre.

“For the most part I believe we could definitely end up with a winning record this year with our team in the conference and overall and then be able to push for that championship in the tournament,” Milner said.

Tuesday’s game was the Knights’ first on their new home field behind Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church on Godwin Boulevard, where SCA’s middle and high schools operate. Though the team’s new goals had not come in yet, Milner was grateful to SYAA for lending a couple so the game could happen.

Suffolk Christian (1-0, 0-0) will hit the road on Aug. 30 to play Virginia Beach Friends School.