By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE September 25, 2007 The Bulldogs have some bite to their boot after all.
The young Sullivan West boys’ soccer team has had a rough start to the season with a 0-2 record in the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV and 1-6 overall record.
But Friday’s visit by Division VI’s Eldred Yellowjackets allowed the Bulldogs a chance to shine.
The home team dominated the first half, with four different players getting the ball past Eldred goalie Aaron Smith and a fifth goal scored for them on a Yellowjacket error.
As a result, SW (2-6) won the non-league match by a final score of 5-1.
Feeling the sting, Eldred (0-5) returned in the second half and focused on putting more pressure on the SW defense.
Led by nimble senior Evan LaPut, who displayed his back-flip abilities in an attempted throw-in that sent the ball flying wildly out-of-bounds, the Yellowjackets were able to keep SW scoreless in the second half.
When LaPut scored the Yellowjackets’ only goal, which brought the score to 5-1, he flipped his body into the air once again in celebration.
Eldred Coach J.J. Gass gave his players credit for a game well-played, but expressed disappointment in the outcome.
“I wish we could have played an entire game instead of half a game,” Gass said. “We played well in the second half, not in the first.
“You can lose five-nothing in the first or win one-nothing in the second,” he said with a grin.
SW Coach Debbie Owen had a different take on the second half.
The non-league match-up of Class B SW with Class D Eldred was a rare chance for Owen to allow a deep bench of 22 players to rotate out onto the field.
Without a jayvee program, Owen said her team is at a disadvantage in games against some of the larger schools in OCIAA Division IV.
Even her group of “seasoned” starters is rounded out by two freshman, including Lucas Bauer, who not only scored one of the team’s goals Friday afternoon but donned the keeper’s uniform in the second half and deflected five Eldred attempts to score.
The starters gave the Bulldogs a comfortable lead before Owen switched up her rotation, sending in the younger, less experienced players.
She also allowed junior Logan Grishaber a chance to get out of the goal where he’d only needed to make two saves in the first half, giving him a chance to get his feet on the ball.
Of the four starters who returned from last year’s Bulldog lineup, Grishaber is the only one playing the same position, Owen said.
But the Bulldogs were a well-oiled machine, working well together and providing opportunities for every member of the team.
The SW goals came from Bauer, Justin Armstrong, Gaston Owen and Robert Rosa. Rich Feeney made two assists, while Chris Ellison and Bauer each had one assist.
“We saw a lot of good things, even from our younger guys,” Owen said. “They’ve been paying attention, and they did very well!
“All in all, it was a great game,” she added.