LUTZ-Steinbrenner opened their 2014-2015 soccer season with a slip and slide 3-1 physical victory against their cross town rivals, the Gaither Cowboys thanks to a big performance by junior captain, Michael Connell.
It didn’t take long for the Warriors to find the familiar groove of last year’s nationally ranked (22) squad where they lost in the regional semifinals to East Lake, 4-3. And with a fresh young team with a talented freshman and sophomore class, combined with a small group of experienced seniors and juniors, the Warriors along with their head coach, Chad Ebright, expect nothing less of complete district domination.
“Connell is a great player and a he is a captain this year voted in by his own teammates,” said Ebright.
The Cowboys felt the full wrath of that feeling as sophomore defender Matt Gordon scored on an assist from Connell 11:30 into the game. But as the flood prone field continued to tear up from constant sliding and running of the players, endless amounts of fouls were called, with a large amount heading against the Cowboys as four different players received yellow cards on the Gaither squad. And as the fouls increased so did the tension and determination of each team. Thus leading to Gaither’s equalizer 32 minutes into the first half.
“We got a free kick from the sideline and I just put the ball in toward the goal so that Matt (Gordon) could just put the ball in,” said Connell.
However, Steinbrenner wasn’t done yet as sophomore forward Joaquin Borggio put a ball into the left side of the net with less than a minute left of the half. Steinbrenner went up 2-1 with 40 minutes still left to play of competitive high school soccer.
But eventually, both teams energy was draining to the point where a comeback would become almost unforeseeable. And with that, Steinbrenner put the game away thanks to a big goal by Connell 19 minutes into the second half thanks to an assist by junior defender Jason Fishman.
Steinbrenner’s goalie, sophomore Stevie Ribble had one save on the night thanks to a solid defensive line that allowed two shots on goal.
“Stevie is a great goalie and he really benefited a lot from having Christian (Knight) around to help him, and even now, Christian comes back to help the players out along with other players from last year,” said Ebright. “Our philosophy is that once you play the four years, you aren’t done, and you are still a part of this team. You still come out to help and teach the younger guys and that’s why we are successful.”
Steinbrenner will battle Sickles on November 8th in the Wharton invitational tournament and then will continue their regular season as they will host Jefferson at 6 PM on November 10th.
Written by Evan Abramson/Online Sports Editor