Heading into last Friday’s matchup against Open Door Christian, the Horizon Hawks were 0-3 for the season and coming off a 3-1 loss on the road to Damascus.
“We faced a Damascus team that was beatable,” said Head Coach Andrew Stenberg. “But instead we beat ourselves.”
The 21 boys and girls who make up Horizon’s soccer team experienced their first game not only in the rain, “but in the pouring rain,” Stenberg said. “The ground was slippery and our players were cold.”
The game started off slow for both sides, as players were trying to acclimate their bodies to the change in weather, but Damascus would eventually open the flood gates against the Hawks, scoring two goals in the last 10 minutes of the first half.
The Hawks, however, would make things interesting as they came out in the second half and put the ball in the net off of a corner-kick by Ethan Fuller that found Derek Johnston’s head. Johnston, who is known on this team as, “DJ,” placed the ball on the right side of the goal, keeping it out of reach of Damascus’s goalie to make it a 2-1 game five minutes into the second half.
The Hawks would press hard for the next 30 minutes after their opening goal of the second half, “but were offset by an indirect kick that slipped underneath our defense and their forward ran onto it,” Stenberg said. The shot was initially blocked by Hawks goalkeeper Nolan Ryan, but Ryan wasn’t able to haul it in and a Damascus player would tap the ball in off the rebound, making the score 3-1.
Although the Hawks would drop their third game of the season, the team has improved in every game and that’s exactly the focus Stenberg has for this group.
Stenberg explained that if the team goes out and loses by two or three goals, the focus is then on how they can come out the next game and close the gap.
And in their game following the 3-1 loss to Damascus, they did find a way to close that gap.
In their first home game of the season, the Hawks would dominant Open Door Christian by a score of 3-1 for their first win of the season.
Coming into this game, Open Door Christian was undefeated, “but we were ready for the challenge, starting from the beginning of warm-ups,” Stenberg said.
Throughout the first half, the Hawks were in complete control of the game, having a few shots that narrowly missed the goal, but Horizon was never able to get one on the scoreboard.
Three-minutes into the second half, Horizon would begin their shootout.
“We scored our first goal with Kai (Robertson) passing the ball to DJ (Johnston) just outside the 18-yard box. DJ took two dribbles towards the goal and fired one low past the keeper,” Stenberg said.
“About seven minutes later, we struck again. This time Kai assisted the ball to Ethan in the middle where Ethan was able to take a few touches and very nicely pass the ball past the keeper.”
After an Open Door Christian score to make it a 2-1 game with 15 minutes left of regulation, the Hawks would respond in the 80th minute to “seal the deal.”
“On a fast break, Kai received the ball on the run and slid it through the defense, leading it up to Ethan to finish it off, who took three dribbles into the box and beat the keeper handily for our third and final goal,” Stenberg said.
Not only would this goal be the third for the Hawks this game, but it would also give Robertson a hat-trick of assists as he was a part of each goal that happened.
On Monday, the Hawks kept their high level of play up as they went on the road and beat Crosshill Christian 2-1, putting Horizon at 2-3 on the season.
On Monday, the Hawks took a small step back as they went on the road and loss to Crosshill Christian 3-0, putting Horizon at 1-4 on the season.
The name game for Horizon is a home game this Wednesday, Sept. 27 as they welcome Livingstone Adventist Academy.