Boys soccer brings home a win

Varsity’s first game of the season is a success

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Millard West maintained possession most of the game. Although the team was on top, there were still some things they could work on. “We could have improved on finishing our shot chances, which would have given us four to five more goals,” senior midfielder Nasser Nabulsi said. “I think we played well, overall, for our first game and not knowing how solid we would be.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, March 18, the Millard West Varsity Boys soccer team competed against the Bellevue East Chieftains to start off their season. Both teams had been preparing for weeks and wanted to begin their season on the right foot.

The game started off with Wildcat senior striker Caden Tubaugh kicking off for Millard West. Sophomore midfielder Reegan Hawkins received the ball and brought it up the right side of the field before getting it stolen by a Chieftain striker. Almost immediately following the change in possession, Wildcat junior midfielder Johnson Lu was able to get the ball back and give junior Seth Kortus a through ball up the left side of the pitch. Unfortunately for Millard West, a Chieftain defender was able to deflect the ball, and the Bellevue East goalie took possession of it.

After several minutes into the half passed, Millard West was clearly giving more pressure to Bellevue East. The Chieftains barely could maintain not getting scored on, let alone getting the ball on the opposition’s half of the pitch. Junior striker Aiden MacLeod and Kortus had several possessions back to back, where they passed the ball up the left side of the field and almost forced the ball into the goal. After several attempts at scoring, the senior midfielder Nasser Nabulsi, crossed the ball to MacLeod, who centered the ball for Hawkins to score a bottom right corner goal.

“It felt super good when we got the first goal because we needed a park and something to get us going,” Nabulsi said. “We stayed connected the whole time, and we had some nice passes, along with maintaining possession, to keep us up.”

The goal distinctly motivated the Wildcats to give even more pressure and provided several more chances to score. However, the Bellevue East defense was able to stop all these attempts and clear the ball. In the 19th minute of the first half, a Chieftain defender slipped up and allowed Tubaugh to bring the ball up the center of the penalty box. This led to Tubaugh hitting another right corner goal for the team. Following this goal, neither team was able to make any game changing shots, although several were taken. Millard West still maintained possession, yet Bellevue East pushed back and got the ball on the Wildcats side of the pitch several times before ending the half.

“The idea was to maintain the zero in our goal,” coach Juan Aguirre said. “Sometimes it is a hard thing to do, but playing defense and staying alert at all times helps a lot. We were off to a great start after half, already passing and communicating well with our brand new team.”

The second half began with the Chieftains kicking off and the Wildcats immediately stealing the ball, changing possession. After a shot attempt by Tubaugh, Bellevue East’s goalie cleared the ball, and senior defender Ryan O’Grady was able to give a through ball back up the field. This led to multiple back and forths between the two teams, before a Chieftain forward was able to bring the ball far into Wildcat territory on a free kick. This was kicked straight to junior goalie Cody Fuller, who batted the ball out before a shot attempt.

“We were connecting really well as a team,” Fuller said. “It was nice to see the hard work from preseason paying off, and having possession most of the game really helped us keep our lead near the end.”

The free kick sparked several shot attempts by Millard West, being taken by MacLeod, Lu and Tubaugh. Fortunately for Bellevue East, their goalie was able to block two, and one was just shy of the post. The half then started to slow with the Wildcats maintaining possession of the ball most of the time. They put up multiple shots, but none were made, and the game ended with a score of 2-0 Wildcats.

The Wildcats will be back in action on Saturday, April 3, against the Omaha Northwest Huskies for their sixth game of the season. Millard West has a record of 2-1, and the Huskies are 3-1, so the away game will be one to watch.