MORGANTOWN — The Morgantown Mohigans and University Hawks boys’ soccer teams took to the pitch at Pony Lewis Field for a Mohawk Derby on a chilly Thursday evening under the lights.
MHS remained undefeated on the season (8-0-1) with a 4-0 victory over the visiting Hawks (4-7).
The Mohigans netted four goals in the first half alone, scored by four different players.
“We created space well and our movement was good tonight,” MHS head coach Sam Snyder said. “Everything that we’ve been working on in the last three games or so looked better. While we did well to create space up front, we didn’t do a good job of filling in the gaps in behind our attackers. But our defense did what they do and made it hard for teams to shoot.”
The Hawks started the game positively but were unable to find a goal after a few chances presented themselves in the attacking third. In fact, the opening 15 minutes was a back-and-forth contest with both teams stringing passes together to break the lines of the opposing defense.
Finally, the first goal came in the game by the hosts after MHS junior forward Alex Gonzalez was fouled inside the 18-yard box and awarded a penalty kick. Junior Aiden Stire stepped up to the spot and rifled the ball down the middle of the goal, his fourth on the season and second in as many games.
The second goal for MHS came about seven minutes later after junior striker Riley Brabson found himself in some space on the right side of the box. He took one turn and fired a shot across the face of the goal that nestled into the corner to double the lead for the hosts. Brabson’s goal was his 11th of the season and the captain of the Mohigans has been on a consistent run of play from the beginning of the season, scoring in nearly every game so far.
“On that goal, I was thinking to go for the near-post,” he said of his intentions during the build-up to his goal. “But the ball went over the keeper’s shoulder and to the back post.”
Brabson says he knows his team is playing well, having yet to lose a game this season, but mentioned the team chemistry can still be stronger.
“I think some of our teamwork could be stronger overall,” he said. “Personally I also want to respect our opponents more as a whole, we played a rival tonight and always play to win, but still have a lot of respect for everyone we play.”
The Hawks responded well after conceding the second goal but the defensive line of the Mohigans was equal to the task of the pressure and continued to clear the danger. After showing good patience, MHS was awarded again. This time it was midfielder Will Staples who etched his name on the scoresheet. Stire sent a free kick toward the net that was saved by UHS keeper Connor Montgomery but rebounded to the feet of junior Cooper Cave, who touched the ball to the feet of Staples who scored his first goal of the year and his team’s third of the game.
The fourth goal of the half came with just 30 seconds left to play as defender Colin Petsko found the ball on the right side of the field all alone and calmly buried the ball into the back of the net.
“After the penalty, we just got away from our gameplan a little bit,” UHS head coach Michael Smith said. “When we followed our gameplan, we played well and got a lot of opportunities. They’re a very good team and capitalized on our mistakes. We need to find ourselves a little bit as we are over halfway through the season and come together to start winning some games.”
Neither side was able to find the back of the net in the second half and MHS took the victory 4-0.
The Mohigans will travel on Saturday for a game against Parkersburg while the Hawks will go south for a game on the road at Capital.