By Kyle Gregory
With a week off to get back to the basics, a rejuvenated Lake Travis boys soccer team beat district foe Austin High 2-0 Friday night.
“The boys were ready to play; I think taking that bye week right there allowed us to get our legs back a little bit,” Lake Travis coach David Bammel said. “Obviously, coming off the two losses to Del Valle and Westlake were not easy tasks whatsoever. I think having that time to recuperate and get our minds right – to get ready to go for the second half of district – helped us out there on the field.
It was a lonely first half for Lake Travis (7-5-4, 3-3-1 in district) keeper Will Neuse, as his teammates spent the majority of the period half a field away. Austin had no answers for the Cavaliers precise ball control and only crossed midfield a handful of times. The Maroons never mounted a serious attack on the goal.
“My defense was solid today – Sam Cain, Tanner Barton, Barret Mattingly, [Theodore] Alvarado – all four of those guys came out here ready to fight, and they were out to win every single ball that came their direction and it showed,” Bammel said. “I don’t think my keeper had to make a save the entire time.”
The Cavs’ keep away game not only neutralized any Austin threat, but also allowed for a profusion of scoring opportunities. Whenever Lake Travis had an opportunity for an open shot, they took it.
“We came out firing,” Bammel said. “We were ready to start taking shots. I think it’s kind of hit the boys that we’re not going to score goals if we don’t take risks and take those shots.”
Lake Travis’ first goal came not from a long strike, but from an up close and personal three-pronged attack. With 24 minutes left in the half, Nathaniel Adamolekun dished the ball to a streaking Cooper Fyfe up the sideline. Fyfe beat his defender one-on-one and took a hard shot on goal. The Austin keeper deflected it, but Vance Perkins swept in from the opposite sideline and cleaned up the scraps, knocking the ball in over the sprawled goalkeeper.
“We played good; we created chances and scored goals – pretty much what we’re expected to do,” Adamolekun said. “Coach says you can’t score goals if you don’t shoot, so we try to shoot whenever we can.”
The Maroons saw more success pressuring the Lake Travis defense in the second half, but it still didn’t result in many shots on goal.
“This was one of the games where we all played really hard,” Cain said. “We were coming back from a loss, and we knew we had to bring some heat to it. We’ve been training ourselves to keep the ball from getting too far. We’re trying to make sure that [Neuse] doesn’t have to touch it.”
The Cavaliers’ bombs-away strategy paid off with 34 minutes in the second half. After breaching the first wave of Austin defense, Adamolekun passed the ball to strong-legged Dylan Tracy. Tracy launched a shot from 25 yards out and the ball zipped past the Austin keeper and into the back of the net.
“They’re willing to take the shots that I don’t think we’ve been willing to take quite as much of. Obviously we’ve been able to find the back of the net a little bit more,” Bammel said.
“We’ve got a long road ahead of us simply because we’ve got some injuries and some tough things that we’re fighting through,” Bammel said. “We’re just going to continue to work on our abilities as a team and hopefully continue to click and find the back of the net and win games.”
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