The Weeki Wachee Boys Soccer team (3-1) blanked the Hernando Leopards (0-5) by an 8-0 margin on a frigid Friday night at the Hornets’ Nest. Hernando came into the matchup on the heels of multiple blowout losses during a currently winless season. The Hornets had recently logged a comfortable 4-1 victory over South Sumter and have only suffered one loss at this point in the young season. With the two teams trending in different directions, one was looking to find momentum and the other was looking to maintain it. The home team managed to do more than that as the officials called the game at the second-half water break due to the lopsided score.
The evening started off with a bang for the home team as the Hornets scored a goal in the first two minutes and never looked back. Senior Gavin Maye, Junior Dylan Freshwater, Junior Daniel Greenwald, and Senior Seth Borges all recorded at least one score apiece to ice the contest by the intermission. The most impressive play of the period may have come on Borges’ goal with just under 16 minutes remaining in the first half. Following a penalty by Hernando, Freshwater was set to kick the ball on the Leopards’ side of the field. The junior feigned a kick, the ball was quickly passed to Borges, and the senior took the shot through traffic. This gave Weeki Wachee a backbreaking fourth goal over Hernando shortly after the first-half water break.
Once the second half was underway, Weeki Wachee kept up the pace. Multiple different players in green jerseys continued to take shots on the visitors’ goal. Senior Graham Knoten would be the one who netted the final two scores for the Green and Black. The second of these was a penalty kick with 20:32 left in the second frame. That would also prove to be the final play of the game as the officiating crew called the contest due to the disparity of the scores.
When asked how his team performed, Head Coach Michael Mullen was pleased and felt everyone played a part in the victory. He did not necessarily feel any one player deserved credit. “It was definitely a well-played team effort for sure,” Coach Mullen said. “Yeah, I wouldn’t say anyone, in particular, did anything spectacular. They all played very well.”
While Coach Mullen was obviously pleased with the outcome of the game, he was also thankful that his team had the opportunity to work on things while coming away with a win. He noted how the Purple and Gold’s deficiencies allowed Weeki Wachee invaluable “tune-up” experience that would be otherwise impossible in a practice setting. One aspect the home team performed well was passing. This allowed them to pressure well as a result and subsequently live on Hernando’s side of the field for most of the night.
“They did what I’ve been asking them to do,” Coach Mullen said. “They passed the ball well. They were moving the ball around the field, switching the field, and such. So, that was good. Unfortunately, for Hernando, they’re a little weak. But for us, it’s sort of good because we get to do our thing at game speed because you don’t get really to play against another team like that at practice, I told the team. So, we can work on what we need to do correctly at game speed.”
Next up for the Leopards, they will take on the Lecanto Panthers at home on Monday night. Weeki Wachee will also be playing at home on Monday, but they will be facing off against the Central Bears on what could be another chilly evening.