Wakefield picked a great time to play its most complete defensive game of the season, shutting out Sanderson 1-0 at home Monday night in the Cap-8 opener for both teams.
The Wolverines (2-3-1, 1-0) also snapped a two-game losing streak, riding a goal by Piero Olortegui in the 35th minute to a crucial victory.
“It was really important,” Wakefield junior Charles Johnson said. “It’s good to start off the conference well, and it’s good that we got a 1-0 win against a very good Sanderson team. Our defense was really solid, putting up a goose egg. It was a tight win, but it was a good, well-deserved win.”
The Spartans (4-3-2, 0-1) played well but struggled putting the ball in the net.
“Did we play as well as we could play?” Sanderson coach Todd Worley said “The answer is yes. We controlled a large part of the action, but we couldn’t finish. As long as that’s your Achilles heel, when you give up one goal, you’re in trouble.”
Wakefield had several good scoring chances in the first half before Olortegui found a seam in the Spartan defense, took a brilliant pass by Johnson and whipped it by Sanderson keeper Bryson Condrey.
“I just took a touch, looked up and saw him running,” Johnson said. “I just played it right through, and he scored.”
The Spartans were tough on defense most of the night, but not on this play.
“Wakefield had a nice goal,” Worley said. “Our defense (had) a blunder, but Wakefield took advantage of our spacing.”
They said it
“This will get us on a roll,” Johnson said. “As long as we keep playing like this, we’ll definitely be a contender in the Cap-8.”
Three who mattered
Charles Johnson, Wakefield: The defender helped anchor a back line that kept Sanderson from getting good shots, despite a flurry of pressure. Plus, Johnson’s assist was the key play in the game.
“He’s definitely a big presence in the back,” Wolverines coach C.J. Komons said. “He’s one of three defenders that we count on, and he definitely did his job tonight. He’s a key to our defense.”
Temple Siar, Sanderson: In addition to playing a good defensive game, Siar was an offensive weapon with his long kicks and throw-ins resulting to good scoring chances.
“He’s good in the back, he’s got a long ball, which is nice to put pressure on a team,” Worley said. “He’s a very consistent player.”
Piero Olortegui, Wakefield: The senior used his speed to get open, and then used his skill to get the ball in the net on the game’s lone goal.
Sanderson controlled possession for most of the second half but couldn’t finish with a game-tying goal. That’s been an unfortunate theme for the Spartans this season.
“We played well,” Worley said. “We had plenty of times in the box. We’re still trying to figure out who the striker is who will walk in there and score goals for us.”
Out of bounds
After three fouls were called on the Wolverines in the second half, Komons yelled to the referee, “Do I have to get a yellow (card) for you to talk to me?”
“Yes, you do,” was the response, and Komons was given a yellow card. But he did get to talk to the official about the fouls.
How good can Wakefield be? Time will tell, but Monday’s game was clearly a good start.
“The Cap-8 is a strong conference,” Komons said. “Every game is going to be a battle, and any game is going to be close. I don’t know how we’re going to end up. I haven’t seen how anybody else play except for Sanderson, but I know some of the other teams have gotten some good results. We’re excited to play them.”