A lack of offense cropped up at a pivotal point in the season for South Carroll’s boys soccer team.
The Cavaliers had trouble finding a consistent scoring attack in early October, and a pair of Carroll County Athletic League losses thwarted their chances at capturing a county championship.
But there’s more to the fall than regular-season accolades, and the Cavs could be embarking on a deep playoff run. At least that’s the objective, said teammates Carter Chesney and Nick Simoncini.
The forwards combined for five goals Monday in South Carroll’s 6-2 victory over Francis Scott Key.
Chesney, a junior, netted three goals in the first half, while Simoncini, a senior, scored twice in the second half and added two assists.
The road win pushed SC’s record to 7-5 (3-3 in the county) and gave the Cavs their third win in four games. Plus, they’ve collected 15 goals in that span.
“Perfect timing,” said SC coach Tim Novotny. “Last week and tonight, and hopefully it continues on. … Very happy.”
South Carroll endured a four-game stretch, from late September into October, during which they went 1-3 and scored a mere four goals. Three of them came against Liberty, but the Cavaliers suffered 1-0 losses against both Century and Winters Mill.
Then came three games in three days last week, which began last Monday on the road against Long Reach — Simoncini scored three times in SC’s 5-3 win.
A 3-2 loss to Manchester Valley followed, but South Carroll regrouped on the third day and clipped Westminster 2-0.
Chesney had one of the goals against the Owls, and kept his momentum going Monday night. Two of his shots from inside the box found the upper right-hand corner of the net after Chesney created some space through FSK’s defense.
Simoncini got into his rhythm after the break and converted twice on assists from freshman forward Daniel Caparotti.
Chesney and Simoncini were all smiles afterward, and said the team’s offensive improvement is contagious.
“Last week was the week that kicked us into high gear,” Simoncini said. “Now we’re in good form, and we know every game we have chances to score a lot of goals.”
The Eagles (3-5-1, 1-4) tried to stay close. Senior forward Preston Jones scored a goal late in each half, and kept a high level of energy going throughout the game as he tried to break through SC’s defense.
Francis Scott Key held its Senior Night on the home sideline after the game, and the Eagles recognized their seven seniors with a special ceremony. Junior goalie Nathan Perry collected six saves for Key.
Aidan Sporer, a senior forward, had a goal and two assists for the Cavaliers.
South Carroll has two more games this week — home matches with Tuscarora on Thursday and Frederick on Friday. Novotny said playing three games in three days last week seemed like quite the challenge on paper, but South Carroll didn’t waver.
“You couldn’t tell last week … the way they were playing,” the coach said. “I’m glad that we got these six games in the last two weeks to kind of get ready for playoffs. The confidence is high, and it should be.”
Chesney said the Cavs are focused on the second phase of the season as well, with the regional postseason set to begin Oct. 26
“We just saw all the positives of [the Man Valley] game,” Chesney said. “And we’re just going to continue on from there.”
Goals: SC-Carter Chesney 3, Nick Simoncini 2, Aidan Sporer; FSK-Preston Jones 2.
Assists: SC-Sporer 2, Daniel Caparotti 2, Simoncini 2; FSK-none.
Saves: SC-5 (Nicholas Bloch 4, Brady Quinn 1); FSK-6 (Nathan Perry).
Halftime: SC, 4-1.
JV result: SC, 2-0.