Hawks soccer shows improvement in early loss

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Triton kicked off its varsity boys soccer season with a 2-0 loss to West Johnston on Monday. But Hawks head coach Brian Foster saw some promising signs from his team in the season opener.

“First half, we were OK, but it looked like it was our first game,” Foster said. “They had one good goal and one goal off of a mistake. We had a header flash over on a great little inter-play, almost finished off by Carson Smith. And then we owned them in the second half.”

Triton’s best chance of the match came on a breakaway in which Benny Villavazo got in behind the defense. But he failed to find the back of the net.

“That changes the complexion of the game,” Foster said. “Because then it would’ve been 2-1 with 30-something minutes to go.”

Foster had high praise for his defense, singling out senior fullback Taft Stevens for his energy and effort.

“Game ball goes to Taft Stevens,” Foster said. “He was absolutely dominant on defense. He was everywhere. As a left, outside fullback, to be everywhere is impressive. He handled business back there.”

Foster said he felt like his defense did a great job of limiting chances. Senior goalkeeper Christian Delcid only had to make three saves the entire game. Last season when the Hawks went up against West Johnston, they lost 4-0. And Foster said that it wasn’t even that close. So he’s happy with how competitive his team is looking early on.

“We were rusty, but we got better as the game went on,” Foster said. “I see it and I hope they see it, too. I’m expecting good things.”

The Hawks lost some talented seniors last year, including Gage Smith, who was the Offensive Player of the Year in the Tri-County Conference in 2017, and Paul Wells, who led Triton from the back at sweeper. But this year’s senior class is still strong, and Foster feels like this year’s team has a little more depth.

“I feel like there are a few more guys that I can bring off the bench this year without having as much of a drop off,” Foster said. “I’m hoping that will bode well for us as the season goes on, because I think we have some talented players. We’ve just got to figure out how to make it all mesh together.”

Triton (0-1) was originally scheduled to play Overhills on Thursday, but that game was cancelled because of open house at Overhills. The Hawks will take the rest of the week to prepare for a couple of rivalry matchups on the road as they travel to South Johnston on Tuesday and Midway on Thursday.

“Hopefully we can sort things out and bounce back next week,” Foster said. “I want to start the year off 2-1.”

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