Your Manteo Redskins traveled up to Virginia Beach on the first day of school to take on Cape Henry Collegiate. It has been five years since Manteo played the Virginia perennial powerhouse, but they were eager to test themselves early in the season. The fixture would take place on a beautiful, wide pitch under scorching summer heat conditions.
As the game kicked off, Cape Henry were immediately on the ball and moved it at a feverous pace by overloading a side and playing quick combinations on the ground. Their continuous off the ball movement allowed them to connect the easy passes and keep possession. In the first minute of play, Cape Henry overloaded the left flank but found the Manteo defense in good position to shut down the attack. They dropped the ball and played a quick switch through the middle to the right flank. The right midfielder received the ball along the touchline, drawing Manteo’s left fullback to the ball. The attacker beat the defender down the line, turned the corner into the 18-yard box, and then played a cut-back diagonal ball to the top of the six-yard box. The Cape Henry striker beat the Manteo defense to the ball and smashed it into the back of the net.
The Redskins were in utter shock to find themselves down 1-0 with only a minute and half off the game clock. As play resumed, Cape Henry again was back on the ball within no time and continued their style of play to dominate the ball. Manteo looked to organize their low blocks defensively and force the ball backward. Cape Henry were patient with their build up play in attack and never forced a ball that was not there. They were content to possess the ball and Manteo appeared to be in for a long night of defending.
In the first half, when Manteo did get on the ball, too many times they looked to progress up the field by dribbling the ball. Cape Henry would press the ball quickly with one or two players, get into the body, and muscle the dribbler off the ball to regain their possession. The thought to dribble forward was likely caused by the lack of forward passing options once Manteo got on the ball, as they were all behind the ball to defend. They would need to figure out a better way to progress up the field as a unit.
Through the first half, Manteo’s goalkeeper, Cody Weaver, kept the score-line at 1-0 with a handful of saves. The most notable save came with 21 minutes left in the first half. Cape Henry took a corner kick, playing the ball towards the back-post. An attacker rose up to head the ball down into the crowded box. In the scramble for the ball, another Cape Henry attacker struck the ball on the half-volley from six-yards out. Weaver made a brilliant reactionary save to knock the off the goal-line for it to be cleared out of the box. Minutes later, Weaver would make another diving save on the goal-line after Cape Henry won another header off a corner kick.
With eight minutes remaining in the first half, an attempted ball in was deflected off the Manteo backline and into the 18-yard box. A Cape Henry attacker was first to the ball and struck the ball on his first touch from ten yards out. Weaver was able to get a touch on the ball, but unable to keep the ball out of the net as it deflected upward into the top corner.
Manteo would enter half-time trailing by a score of 2-0.
The second half did not start much better than the first half ended for the Redskins. Six minutes into the half, Cape Henry’s central midfielder gave them a 3-0 lead with a thunderous, text-book strike from outside the box. The ball was driven low and was always swerving away from Weaver and into the side-netting.
With 15 minutes remaining, the same central midfielder would net his second goal that resulted from beautiful combination play through the backline, allowing him to strike it home from five yards out.
In the second half, Manteo saw moments of attacking opportunities through counter-attacking play while other times they saw more success on the ball by showing some patience and playing the ball backwards to set up passing options forward. Despite a better effort in the second half, Manteo was unable to net a goal and the game would end with a 4-0 result in favor of Cape Henry.
Coach Cleaver stated after the game, “We were completely out-classed today on the field. However, the score-line or the difficult afternoon is not my frustration with the team. I was frustrated at our lack of fitness, lack of physicality, and lack of communication. This is absolutely on me though, and something we will address and work on going forward. In the end, this was a great learning experience for us and a humbling experience. I scheduled this game early on so we could test ourselves against the best. Now we know where we stand and how far we have to go. We can get their though.”
|Pass Success Rate||63%||80%|