23 March 2017
The Flying Fluco boys’ soccer coach Earl Gibson had a senior-laden team in 2016. A number of talented starters have moved on, so Gibson is fielding a young and somewhat inexperienced team this season. Unfortunately, the Flucos’ first game was against a Spotsylvania High Knights team that Gibson described as “strong and experienced.” The Flucos were shut out, losing 0-5.
In the opening game of the season, on March 17, the Flucos played competitively in the first half. Spotsylvania went up 1-0 after nine minutes of play as a rebound was fired into an empty net after Fluco freshman goalie Bryce Cognetti deflected a hard shot. The play for the rest of the half was mostly even. The play moved up and down the field, as both teams had some offensive chances but were unable to score.
For the Flucos, freshman Mauricio Castillo showed speed and clever moves in attacking the goal. He had one shot that that beat the goalie but was a near miss. Freshman Emory Davis also had a near miss after a good strong run downfield. Senior midfielder Alex Scalzo was strong in the first half as well, fending off the play of some very talented Knights midfielders.
Early in the second half the Knights upped their lead to 2-0 when one of their attackers lofted a very tricky outside of foot shot into the corner of the goal. The Fluco goalie had no chance to stop the shot. Several minutes later the Flucos nearly responded, as Davis fired a blistering shot from the left side of the field. Although the shot beat the Knight’s goalie it caromed off the right post and out, rather than in.
As the second half progressed the Flucos appeared to tire. “We made a couple of mistakes,” Gibson said. As a result, the Knights were able to add three more goals. Gibson told his squad after the game that he felt the final score was not really representative of how the two teams matched up. Scalzo and Davis were the two stand-outs for the Flucos in this game, Gibson said.
As noted above, this will probably be a rebuilding year for the boys’ soccer program. The starting line-up in the opener included four freshmen – a very rare development in a game in which players develop skills year after year and the difference in size, skill and physical strength between freshman and seniors is often tremendous. Gibson said he is also relying on several juniors who played on the junior varsity team last season, and who are in their first year of varsity competition.
The Flucos were originally scheduled to open their season on March 13 hosting Powhatan, but that game was postponed due to inclement weather. They played the second half of a two-game set against Spotsylvania at the Knights’ field on March 21. On Friday (March 24) they will host Orange County. On March 27 they will host Western Albemarle High. On March 30 the Flucos travel to Charlottesville High.