Millbrook seemed to have a better handle and rode it to a 6-1 win over East Wake on Monday night in a nonconference game where both teams were trying to figure things out.
The Wildcats wore the Warrior defense down in the first half with strong outside runs. Senior Ian Pearlswig was the beneficiary of some good ball movement in scoring the first two goals within the first 20 minutes of the game. Junior Cameron Boch put the Wildcats up 3-0 when he scored on a penalty kick two minutes later.
Millbrook picked up its fourth goal when the Warriors were unable to clear the ball in front of the net and senior Harrison Clark tapped the ball in goal. Senior Emmet Wood slipped one through the East Wake wall on a free kick with 12.2 seconds left in the half to take a 5-0 halftime lead.
“We did well and had a lot of breaks go our way against a good team,” said Millbrook coach Matt Edwards. “We were pretty organized and didn’t give away too many opportunities.”
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The second half proved to be much better for the Warriors as they managed to shut down the passing lanes and minimize Millbrook’s scoring opportunities. East Wake was able to put together a few good runs of its own and picked up a goal with 21:29 left in the second half when senior Vicente Gallardo hit the far post. Millbrook picked up its sixth goal on an own goal to round out the scoring.
“We started a different lineup with a lot of different players in different positions,” said East Wake coach Jonathan Hasbrouck. “We saw some good things and some bad things but this is why we play such a strong nonconference schedule, so we can see our strengths and weaknesses.”
BY THE NUMBERS
15: The number of seniors on the Millbrook team. With so much experience on the team, Edwards is still trying to sort out who the starting 11 will be.
12: The number of seniors on the East Wake team. The Warriors will be looking for the seniors to lead the way as they head into conference play.
5: Goals scored by Millbrook’s Pearlswig on the season, leading Wildcats players.
Millbrook used the width of the field to their advantage to spread the Warrior defense and open up scoring opportunities. “We did our best when we stayed on plan,” Edwards said.
The Warriors are running a new formation (4-5-1) which requires the midfielders to be more involved in the offense. “The center mids weren’t seeing the ball as much as I would like,” Hasbrouck said. “It would have helped to have the midfielders more involved. We have to work on consistency, especially at the start of the game.”
Millbrook missed out on the playoffs last year and is looking to bounce back this year in the competitive CAP-8 Conference. The Wildcats open conference play on Sept. 7, when they host Enloe at 6:30 p.m.
The Warriors will look to bounce back in a two-game series with Smithfield Selma before they host Clayton in their Greater Neuse River Conference opener on Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m. Hasbrouck said the team is hoping to find more offensive threats as it opens conference play.