FORT MILL — After the Fort Mill High boys’ soccer team suffered its first loss of the year against Northwestern, head coach Lloyd Chalker hoped the Jackets would bounce back quickly and that’s exactly what they did, taking a slim 1-0 win over the South Pointe Stallions last week.
The win improved Fort Mill to 11-1 on the season and 5-1 in Region III-AAAA.
However, it was the game against Northwestern that could have determined who wins the Region title.
Early ball control helped pace the Trojans to a 3-1 victory over Fort Mill at Bob Jones Stadium earlier in the week.
The loss by Fort Mill was its first in 21 matches, dating back to last season. And with it being the first loss on the season, Chalker said it wasn’t too bad a thing.
“We just didn’t score,” Chalker said. “We missed too many opportunities. An early loss isn’t a bad thing. We will see how we will deal with it.”
Both teams started the game trying to gain the advantage, but neither could early on. The Trojans did manage to control the ball on their side of things, but couldn’t manufacture a goal with throw-ins or an early corner kick.
Fort Mill made the first attempt at a shot on goal, but the ball was easily gobbled up by Northwestern keeper Cody Jones, who unofficially made eight saves in the game.
The Trojans struck first, scoring about 19 minutes into the game as junior Julian Welborn caught Jackets’ keeper Mason Jackson out of position, pushing it into the right side of the box for the goal.
Fort Mill tried another shot with about 15 minutes left in the first half, but was again stopped by Jones.
Northwestern controlled the ball the majority of the first half, and was able to go up by two goals as sophomore Alan Taylerson scored on a header off a throw-in from junior Manny Lozano.
After the two goals by the Trojans and despite several more attempts by Fort Mill, the Northwestern defense stayed on top of things; As the Jackets repeatedly tried to thread the ball into the box, Northwestern would punch it back out.
The Jackets switched things up in the second half as Jackson was replaced in goal by junior Mike Usina. Fort Mill continued to struggle offensively until the drought was broken by Jackets senior captain Jason Hirsch, who scored on a free kick over the head of Davis into the back of the net to put Fort Mill on the board at 2-1.
Despite the Fort Mill attack, the Jackets’ momentum quickly stalled as they were called for a penalty that allowed Trojans junior Connor Moore a penalty kick that he was able to slip past Usina.
The two-goal difference was all Northwestern needed as they held Fort Mill down for the rest of the game.