By Brian Devine
After a 3-1 loss against Harrisburg Area Community College on Sept. 27 at the Marple Campus field, the Phantom’s men’s soccer team fell to 4-4 on the season and was handed their second consecutive loss.
Aside from a header goal by freshman Shamour Young late in the first half, the Phantoms had trouble generating offense throughout the afternoon. Head Coach Ryan Griffith said these struggles are the result of players trying to do too much by themselves, and not because of a lack of talent.
“When we start playing as individuals it doesn’t work,” Griffith said. “We’ve got to play together as a team.”
Griffith added the team could still be demoralized after blowing a late lead in their previous match against Northampton Community College on Sept. 22. The Phantoms were leading 2-0 with five minutes left in the game, but ended up losing 3-2 in overtime.
“We’ve got to get back to basics and play our style of soccer,” said assistant coach Steve Weatherby.
Perhaps the biggest turning point of the game was when Phantom’s captain James Warren Cooke exited during halftime with a groin injury. Before the injury, Cooke made a strong impact with a goal saving play in the first half.
Cooke sprinted across the field and blocked a powerful kick by Harrisburg which would have put the team in a deep 2-0 hole, if not for his hustle.
“I didn’t think I would get there, but I tried my best and I did,” Cooke said.
Towards the end of the first half, the Phantoms evened the score to 1-1. But their momentum was short lived.
Within 30 seconds of the second half, Harrisburg scored to go up 2-1. They later added another goal that extended their lead to 3-1 and put the game out of reach.
“We didn’t play well,” said freshman Chris Birch. “The other guys played better than we did. We just got to come back next game.”
Despite allowing three goals, Coach Weatherby has been impressed with Goalkeeper Kyle O’Brien, saying he’s excelled. O’Brien entered the season with very little experience, and had to learn the position on the fly.
“He’s a very quick learner, and has done a tremendous job for the amount of pressure he’s been under,” Weatherby said.
Weatherby added the progress he’s made since the beginning of the year has been substantial.
“Oh yeah absolutely,” Weatherby said. “He’s been an allaround better soccer player and keeper.”
Despite losing two consecutive games, the Phantoms have made steady progress from last season. They have already eclipsed their win total from last year as they finished the 2015- 2016 campaign with a 3-10 record.
After the defeat against Harrisburg, the Phantoms fought back two days later with a 5-2 win on Sept .29 against Montgomery Community College. The Phantom’s final game this year will be on Oct. 19 on the road against Williamson Trade School where they will look to end their season on a high note.
Contact Brian Devine at Communitarian@mail.dccc.edu