Harrison Clark blanketed the field so completely that he was in the right place at the right times. He led Millbrook’s boys soccer team past Sanderson 3-0 in a crucial Cap-8 Conference match Monday night on the Wildcats’ field.
But he paid for his omnipresence with some friendly fire.
The 6-foot senior was in the middle of the field 20 yards in front of the goal when he turned back to look for the ball that had ricocheted behind him with 26 minutes to play. Trouble was teammate August Majtenyi thought he had a shot on goal from 30 yards out. He launched a rocket.
Clark managed to turn his head so the blow wasn’t directly to his face, but he was still sore after the match. He flinched while seated on the team bench as a trainer examined the side of his head.
“I’ll get him later,” Clark said dryly of Majtenyi.
Revenge is best served cold, but on Monday night Clark, Majtenyi and the rest of the Wildcats were happy to celebrate a win that has Millbrook (13-2, 6-1) alone in first place at the halfway mark.
Sanderson (8-3-1, 4-2), Heritage (12-2, 5-2) and Leesville Road (10-4, 4-2) are all one game back in the loss column.
Millbrook started the match aggressively, getting off a shot that Sanderson junior goalie Hayes Ference saved with a dive.
The Wildcats kept up the pressure in the early minutes until Clark scored with less than nine minutes elapsed. He said the fast start was by design.
“Our coach (Matt Edwards) always tells us with 17 seniors we have to have a good warmup and come out strong,” Clark said. “I was a little worried because some other guys and I were sick. I was afraid we were sluggish in warmups, but we came out strong.”
Junior goalie Paul Phillips recorded the shutout.
Sanderson coach Todd Worley said he’s confident the Spartans can regroup from the disappointing loss. Most of the match was played with Millbrook attacking on Sanderson’s end of the field.
“They came out and got a goal early and took over the momentum,” Worley said. “We had opportunities in the first half but didn’t finish. For most part they were the better team tonight. It was one of those tough Cap-8 games.”
Worley added the Cap-8 race is far from over.
“I still think whoever wins the conference will have three or four losses,” he said. “There is so much parity in the Cap-8. Teams match up different ways, and we had some match up issues. They deserved to win.”
Leesville Road won the 2015 Cap-8 title with a 10-3-1 conference mark.
9th minute: Harrison Clark scored after he took a right-to-left cross from Alex Combs in the open field in a two-on-one.
35th minute: On Clark’s throw-in from the 10 yards out right side, Millbrook’s Jose Garcia and a Sanderson defender both leaped for a header. Garcia said both players headed the ball Garcia’s touch propelled it into the net.
Halftime: Millbrook 2, Sanderson 0.
42nd minute: Millbrook again struck early in the half on a goal from Emmet Wood with an assist from Clark.
THEY SAID IT
“We know every team in the Cap-8 is coming after us in first place. The Cap-8 is competitive, and we don’t look at teams in second place, third or fourth. We play every game one at a time.” – Harrison Clark