FORT MILL — The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets boys’ soccer team, after 10 days off, defeated Clover 3-1 in the first game of Region III play.
The seventh-ranked Yellow Jackets won four of its first five games after opening the season in the Sandhills Classic in Columbia 10 days ago.
Before the match Clover had dropped four of its first six games.
In the first half, both teams tried to gain the upper hand, but it was the Jackets that broke through near the 10-minute mark when senior forward Austin Cassidy scored the first of his two goals.
“Interesting how Clover came out. I don’t think the boys seen anything like that, allowing them to get the ball in the back and not even pressuring,” said Jackets coach Lloyd Chalker. “It was a good thing to learn from. Austin did really well. Good result.”
After the first goal, Clover tried to tighten its defense, but Fort Mill found its way around the Blue Eagles. The Jackets used the middle of the field to do most of its damage and then loaded the box once it was inside the 20. That helped Cassidy to convert his second goal just 10 minutes after his first. One thing that helped to allow Cassidy to thread the seams was the amount of open space Clover allowed.
Fort Mill came out firing in the second half taking a shot within the first minute and stayed aggressive. The Blue Eagles tried to be more aggressive in the second half as well, but struggled to get momentum its way as Fort Mill stayed on top of things offensively.
The Jackets had two corner kicks in the first seven minutes of the second half, but couldn’t convert either one. Fort Mill also had a couple of free kicks, but launched them either too high or too far right.
Clover’s keeper Robert Schreiner made a key save that looked like it was in the goal for Fort Mill with about 30 minutes left in the game to keep the Jackets contained.
Defensively, Fort Mill was just as strong in the second half as they were in the first allowing Clover to rarely get into position to set up a shot. Clover did attempt several corner kicks in the second half and got a couple throw-ins, but the Jackets stacked the box keeping the attempt at bay nearly each time.
Fort Mill added a third goal with about 15 minutes left on a save that again got knocked out of the goal initially, before senior midfielder Jon Cutrone came streaking up the middle to knock the ball into the back of the net.
Clover did get on the board with about 10 minutes left as freshman Buddy Curtin would score for the Blue Eagles preventing the Fort Mill shutout.
Fort Mill also cruised with a 5-0 shutout against York later in the week to improve to 6-1-0 overall and 2-0 in Region III.
Fort Mill has matches against Rock Hill and Lancaster this week, before a big region showdown against Northwestern on March 25.