There are some excellent players on the field for Charlottesville High boys soccer, there’s no debate about that.
But a lot of talented teams don’t have what the defending state champions have — chemistry, connection and a little bit of an edge.
“A lot of us have been playing together for a long time and we have a young team and everyone wants to get involved,” said Charlottesville senior Malcolm Brickhouse. “It’s a lot of people fighting for starting spots and fighting just to get playing time. That adds some competitiveness to the team and it just feels like everything is clicking.”
The Black Knights’ connectivity was on full display Wednesday night in the squad’s home opener, a 9-0 win over Fluvanna County. Those nine goals included a couple of header finishes by Thomas Vik and Nasir Lindsay off well-placed crosses by Lucas Miller and Lucas Simpson as well as three players notching two goals each as the Black Knights easily dispatched the Flucos.
Even after not playing a game from June 8, 2019 until earlier this week, it’s apparent that a Charlottesville team that would’ve had a very good chance at repeating as champions in the lost pandemic year is already in midseason form.
“They’ve got good chemistry, they’re getting along great, the chemistry is good,” said Charlottesville coach Martin Braun. “It’s working well so far, the last few weeks have been a lot of fun.”
The Black Knights didn’t cruise right out of the gate, a product of the fact that while Fluvanna is rebuilding after losing nine seniors that graduated in 2020, the Flucos have talented pieces like sophomore Will Davis, senior keeper Ryan Holman and junior Aaron Evans on the field. The Black Knights led 2-0 until a flurry of late first half goals, the first of which was the tremendous left-footed cross from Miller to Lindsay with just under 10 minutes to play in the frame. After that, Simpson tacked on his second goal of the game in the waning minutes of the half to push the Black Knights’ lead to 5-0.
In the second half, Vik scored off Simpson’s cross with a diving header in the middle where he ended up on his back in front of the goal. Minutes later, the UVa-bound senior Brickhouse showed off his technicality with a drive down the end line past multiple defenders for a goal. Later, Charlottesville celebrated wildly when Miles Kershner broke through on a run from near midfield. That late game celebration of a player coming off the bench to score is indicative of a team that understands how exciting this moment is after such a long layoff due to the pandemic.
“We’ve been playing with our club teams but it’s not quite the same, there’s something about playing for your high school team,” Brickhouse said. “It’s really amazing to be able to have this opportunity to be able to play.”
Simpson, Vik and Lindsay each finished with two goals on the night and Brickhouse, Miller and Kershner rounded out the scoring with a goal each.
The Black Knights will travel to Orange County Monday before a critical clash with Albemarle on the road Thursday. Fluvanna continues a tough early season stretch with a road battle with Western Albemarle Monday night.