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Boys lose 3-0 to Walton-Verona

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By Kristin Beck

The 2012 season got off to a slow start for the Panthers soccer team, as they dropped their season and home opener to conference opponent Walton-Verona, 3-0, Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Head coach Ben Crutcher said he did not have much choice in scheduling because Carroll was in a holding-pattern due to district realignment. By the time he was ready to schedule, the only available slot was at the beginning of the year.

Despite the loss, Crutcher said he thought his team gave a good effort and showed huge improvement over their second scrimmage game the previous Saturday against Anderson County.

The Bearcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead within the first 28 minutes of the first half off of a shot inside the box and a header near the goal.

“First half, we got in the habit of playing what I like to play ‘kickball,’ just kicking it long, chasing it down,” Crutcher said. He said he thought his team was too shy to shoot the ball in the first half and encouraged them to “shoot often” in the second half.

The Panthers improved in the second half, making better passes and playing to the ball, Crutcher said, giving them more opportunities on goal. Carroll also had two penalty kick opportunities and a number of corners that they could not convert. Walton-Verona scored their final goal off of a throw in from the left side of the goal.

“I thought Jacob Beach, he did a really good job on the d-line,” Crutcher said. “He really played solid ball. I thought Dennis Perez did a good job. We got a great effort out of Taylor and Brandon holding down the midfield. I thought JD, just being cleared to play today just after having toe surgery played pretty well for us.”

The Panthers are in the midst of implementing a new system this season, from using long balls and through balls to working up the field via small passes. Crutcher said the new systems also gets the defensive line more involved and utilizes more drop passes. 

“… It’s just going to take some time because we’ve got a couple of freshmen out there. We’ve got a majority junior/senior class out there, and they’ve been used to playing one way, and now we’re changing it on them right now towards the end of their career.”

Crutcher told his team afterward not to hang their heads and to remember that it is just the season opener.

“There’s some good things, and there’s some bad; it’s only the first game of the season.”