The Holy Trinity boys soccer team is coming together at just the right time.
Facing a visiting Viera team that was 9-0 and had outscored its opponents 39-5, the Tigers put on a brilliant defensive effort Friday night in a game that ended in a 0-0 tie.
“I felt we played a complete game defensively, finally, and are clicking now as a unit on how we’re defending as a group,” Holy Trinity coach Adrian Moreno wrote in an email.
“Our mid-block worked very well in getting Viera to try for the long ball to Max May. Hayden Van Kramer and Aiden Bovelsky had tremendous games as center backs, wining the balls over the top and shutting down Viera’s attack to maybe two or three shots the whole game. Cooper Euziere also played great in relief for Hayden in the second half.
“We still have to get the offense clicking in these big games where we aren’t controlling possession and finish the opportunities we create. Overall, it was a great performance and the boys are happy with the result, but felt we should have won the game.”
Viera, which was missing several key starters, played well defensively as well, particularly in goal where senior Caden Sichler got the start. The Hawks also got solid play from players like Jake Brown, Max Walker, Vincent Riggenbach and Mikkel Jensen.
But the Hawks were frustrated offensively, often trying to get the ball over the top of the defense to the high-scoring May, who was surrounded by Holy Trinity defenders. It just the way the Tigers (7-1-1) planned it all along.
“That’s been the plan all season, to apply a mid-block against teams we face and not allow balls to be played through our midfield,” Moreno wrote. “We force the opposition to either kick it long where we can then win it easily, or try to play through us, which allows us to counter quickly.
“… Tonight, was the first time we were able to have a complete game in our mid-block and have it work so well. A lot of it had to do with having the team finally healthy and fit.”
Both teams had their chances throughout the night, particularly in the second half, but neither side could find the back of the net.
Moreno was particularly happy with the play of his defense, which held the high-scoring Hawks without a goal for the first time this season.
“I felt like the entire backline played outstanding,” Moreno wrote. One of the best games they’ve played together. Giancarlo Valdivia had the best game he’s ever played while at Holy Trinity. Freshman Duncan McKenzie is improving every game he plays.
“Cooper Euziere was outstanding in the middle and at center back. Of course, enough can’t be said about Finn Werder in net. Wasn’t needed much tonight, but came up big for us when we needed him.”
Both teams still have big games coming up this week as the push for the postseason kicks into high gear.
Viera is set to play at MCC Monday night before hosting a big Class 6A, District 7 matchup against Melbourne on Tuesday.
Holy Trinity, meanwhile, is set to celebrate Senior Night on Wednesday against Eau Gallie, then hit the road for its own matchup with Melbourne on Friday.
“I feel like this was the game we needed to finally click,” Moreno wrote. “Everyone came together and worked for one another. We can only get better now.”