Camp Verde High School’s boys soccer team played against two weaker opponents from Conference 2A last week, but maintained its focus on improving.
The Cowboys [8-1, 3-0] have had trouble finishing their opportunities against tougher opponents. They used their latest two victories, which were both in the Central Region, to work on it.
They beat Leading Edge Academy – Gilbert 11-0 on Thursday, Oct. 5, and Grand Canyon High School 7-0 on Saturday, Oct. 8.
“I don’t think we’ve peaked yet, we still have room to improve,” Cowboys head coach David Miller said. “We still have an opportunity to work on things we want to develop, and we’ll try to take care of that the next couple games.”
The No. 5-ranked team dismantled the Leading Edge Spartans, which had just 11 players both boys and girls, behind eight different goal scorers.
With a solid lead in hand, seven freshmen who normally do not see varsity minutes took the field to begin their own development. The only regular starters to not be rested were senior goalkeeper Preston Maynard and the defensive four in front of him.
“We want to let the younger players play in offensive situations, not defensive situations,” Miller said.
Against the Grand Canyon Phantoms, the Cowboys also started off quickly, scoring twice in two minutes in the early stages.
Their lead was 4-0 by halftime behind goals from junior midfielder Chase Decker and sophomore Jordan Littlefield.
Despite dominating possession throughout the entire second half, Camp Verde did not score its fifth until there were 12 minutes left. Senior sweeper Nathan Schultz bagged his first of two goals on the day.
Schultz’s second was the best of the afternoon.
Sophomore Steven Moore clipped in a hanging ball from the right. Schultz ran in to meet it outside of the near post, nudging his head onto the ball that redirected it into the net.
Grand Canyon fabricated its best shot on goal with four minutes left in the game. The next time down in the Cowboys’ attacking end, freshman Jonah Loveall got on the scoresheet, collecting the ball and firing home to the nearpost from 17 yards out.
All in all, the team was able to focus on its own game, said assistant coach Edgar Aguayo.
“I think we were successful with that. I think we did get better but I think we also have things that we can improve more and we saw some new things we can improve,” Aguayo said. “These guys were put into situations that they hadn’t experienced too much before, and that brought another side out of it.”
With the miniature tune up out of the way, Camp Verde heads into its last five regular season games, all in region play.
Miller signaled his team’s match at an improved Phoenix Country Day School on Saturday, Oct. 14, as the first test. Kickoff for that game is set for 11 a.m.
Before that was the penultimate home game, against Rancho Solano Preparatory School, on Tuesday,
Oct. 10. Results were unavailable at press time.