Commodore soccer split with Saltillo

Published 12:58 pm Friday, January 18, 2019

A rough December stretch for the Lafayette boys soccer team has spun a complete 180. After a December run of three losses in four games, dropping the team below .500, the Commodores have rallied back. Winners of six in a row, the Lafayette boys are in position to lock down the division and earn a top spot in the playoffs.

The team battled adversity and early injuries early. A 2018 stretch that consisted of a plethora of games playing up a class, and doing so with a limited roster, the team struggled. Now at full strength, they’ve learned from the growing pains.

“We wanted to do that. Obviously when you play up a class you’re seeing better competition and seeing better competition helps you play better,” said head coach Gene Anderson. “They just kept staying motivated. Now that we’re getting healthy, everyone is playing hard and it’s starting to come together.”

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Thursday night against Saltillo, the boys won 4-0, pulling the winning streak to six. Despite scoring four goals, it’s the defense that’s really been on display late. During the win streak, Lafayette has yet to allow an opponent to score more than one goal, and three times they have pitched shutouts.

“I was looking at that the other day. We’ve given up 23 goals. But if you take away Tupelo, who is tremendous this year, and Center Hill, where we were pretty beat up, that’s ten goals,” Anderson said. “So in 16 other games we’ve only given up 13. That’s pretty stingy.”

The Saltillo game was a true display of team soccer. Four different players scored goals, assisted by four different players.

“We were just playing really unselfish soccer,” Anderson said. “A lot of times when you have one really prolific goal scorer, you’re just feeding that one person. The balance makes you more dangerous.”

It’s a tough road ahead for the boys. They play 10-2 Grenada, a division game, on the road Tuesday. Beating Grenada gives them the division and potentially the number one spot in the playoffs. They follow that up with a rescheduled meeting with 11-1-1 Lewisburg next Thursday.

For the girls, Thursday was a rare loss, only their second on the year. Entering the game at 17-1, the Lady Commodores had yet to lose a game within Class 5A – their only loss to Oxford. After the 2-0 loss to Saltillo, they stand tied atop the division standings with the same Saltillo squad.