Cougars Dial in, overpower rivals

August 24, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

INWOOD, W.Va. - With Musselman's boys soccer team coming off a 5-0 rout of Petersburg and Jefferson off a 1-0 loss to University, the Applemen felt they had a shot at upsetting their Eastern Panhandle rivals Tuesday night.

But the Cougars had other ideas, and ultimately they had too much firepower for Musselman to handle.

Zach Dial scored twice and assisted on a third goal, and Aaron Kelly and Matt Tiano also found the back of the net as Jefferson unleashed an offensive barrage on the Applemen for a 4-1 victory.

While the Cougars (1-1) - and specifically their strikers and midfielders - found their footing and put the puzzle pieces together in an efficient and consistent effort, Musselman (1-1) was a little off all night, rushing things and several times falling one good touch short of putting a dangerous counterattack together.


"Our touches weren't really great," Musselman coach Gino Marchese said. "We were a little anxious. We thought we could run with them for the first time, but they're very talented."

Jefferson outshot Musselman 42-4, including a 19-1 edge in the first half. But most of those first-half shots were either glancing blows well off target, or blocked by Applemen defenders who were packed tightly into the 18-yard box - though Adam Roque's shot in the 12th minute made it through only to clang off the crossbar.

"(Musselman) was putting so many bodies behind the ball, it cut off our options," Cougars coach Doug Hunt said. "In the second half we started transitioning the ball a little more."

Dial - who played a masterful game from his center midfield spot - broke the scoreless tie 37 minutes in with a low rocket from 20 yards out past Musselman keeper James Carmichael and into the bottom left corner for a 1-0 halftime lead.

"(The goal) boosted our confidence mostly, and then we started playing more team ball," Dial said.

"We always start a little conservatively in the first five minutes and then look to open it up," Marchese said. "We just couldn't get out of our end."

The Cougars started their attacks from near midfield in the second half - instead of from 25 to 30 yards out in the first half - in order to spread out Musselman's defense.

Dial's cross in the 43rd minute bounced through the 18-yard box untouched and found Kelly, whose left-footed shot beat Carmichael for a 2-0 lead. Strikes from 30-plus yards out by Tiano in the 56th minute and Dial in the 58th minute made it 4-0.

Applemen sophomore Trevor Dusing scored in the 71st minute to prevent the shutout, capitalizing on Jefferson keeper Danny Saum being out of position with a shot from 40 yards out that bounced just out of Saum's reach and into the goal. Carmichael finished with 15 saves.

"When we had possession, we had them on the run," Marchese said. "We just didn't do it consistently enough."

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