Despite a bizarre start, the Covenant boys soccer team got an offensive flurry just before halftime and cruised to a 4-1 victory over visiting Miller School in the VIC Quarterfinals.
The crowd had barely settled in before Miller took a 1-0 lead thanks to an own goal by top-seeded Covenant in the second minute. The concession appeared to rattle the Eagles, who struggled to get going on offense before erupting shortly before halftime.
“Credit to Miller for a good defensive strategy and a good offensive strategy, pushing guys forward,” Covenant coach Bryan Verbrugge said. “It took a while for us to find our way and learn the tactical lessons we’ve been working on in practice.”
In the 32nd minute, Mike Seelman found Cade Kuehler, who beat Mavericks goalkeeper Ryan Shifflett to equalize. The Eagles had a shot careen off the crossbar a minute later, but finally went ahead when Soren Scott put a deft touch to TJ Tyler and Tyler finished, putting Covenant ahead for good.
Scott beat the halftime whistle for a 3-1 lead after a half that featured Covenant racking up eight shots and six corners. Miller, by contrast, didn’t have an offensive chance after the own goal.
After halftime, it was more of the same. Tyler bagged his second goal in the 45th minute, freezing Shifflett with a sharp-angled grass-skimmer for a 4-1 advantage, and both teams substituted liberally in the final stages of the game.
“We’re a quick-possession, quick-attacking team,” Verbrugge said. “Any time a team slows it down on us it’ll take us time to figure out the game.”
Covenant will next face either Carlisle or Blue Ridge in the semifinals.