Future is bright for Titans soccer this fall
by Than Acuff
Well, it wasn’t quite the thrilling finish to a spring season as hoped but it was what it was and the West Elk Soccer u18 team closed it out on a high note.
Midseason snowstorms forced a reschedule of WESA’s two matches against OCSA out of Ridgway into a doubleheader on Sunday, May 28. Personnel issues for OCSA left them four players short of a full squad, forcing WESA to share some of its players with OCSA. What ensued was a quality 95 minutes of soccer before a winner emerged in overtime.
“It was definitely a bummer that we couldn’t play the two matches we wanted to play but we were all prepared to play well, have fun and play hard,” says WESA midfielder Oliver Houseman.
Both teams proved adept at a possession style of soccer, with OCSA getting a boost of speed and talent from WESA players such as Walker Carroll in the first half. OCSA struck first 15 minutes into the game but WESA answered back 10 minutes later when Jude Eaton slipped a pass to Jovany Aguirre and Aguirre finished.
The two teams closed the first half notched in a 1-1 tie and WESA sent four different players to OCSA to continue mixing things up and getting players additional playing time.
Aguirre was one such player and he ended up doing some damage for OCSA as well. Aguirre broke through on a pass from midfield to slip the ball into the bottom corner for a 2-1 OCSA lead. Minutes later, Aguirre assisted on OCSA’s third goal for a 3-1 advantage.
Meanwhile, Will Hoskin was called into action as a goalkeeper for OCSA in the second half. Despite never playing a game in net, Hoskin proved lights out in net and while WESA was dominating possession and setting up numerous shots, Hoskin came through with a number of brilliant saves.
WESA finally broke through in the 70th minute as Tommy Linehan found the final touch past Hoskin to pull WESA back to within one. WESA then struck again as Houseman took a pass from Carlos Franco and drilled a shot from 25 yards out to tie the game 3-3 by the end of regulation
Unsatisfied with a tie, the two clubs agreed to play overtime with the first goal taking the win. After a couple of chances from both teams, WESA sealed the win three minutes into overtime as Linehan as Michael Hensley broke through OCSA’s back four for a chance on net. Hoskin made the initial save but Linehan followed to poke in the rebound for the 4-3 WESA win.
“I think it was a fairly well-played game,” says Houseman. “There was a relaxed element but both teams still played hard and tried to make plays.”
The players will take the summer off and then regroup for the fall high school season starting in mid-August, looking to build on the progress made this past spring.
“The spring season was good in my eyes,” says Housman. “It was good to play with the younger players coming up and getting prepared for a new team dynamic this fall and it was beneficial to everybody’s skills.”