Despite starting the season 0-3, the Wilcox varsity boys soccer team showed promise of better days ahead against Harker (San Jose) on Friday night. The Chargers would lose by a 3-1 final, but easily could have scored another goal or two. Not to mention, junior goaltender Jaxson Hillsinger Roby made a number of impressive saves, keeping them in the game early.
“Jaxson is a tremendous goalkeeper” commented first-year Chargers Head Coach Tomas Montes. “The fact he is only a junior is an even bigger blessing. He keeps us in a lot of games, he’s a rock back there. He always plays tremendously well, he’s probably one of our more consistent players.”
The problem though for the Chargers was that Roby was left on an island far too often. He was forced to come off his line to attack Harker forwards multiple times after they had gotten by the defense. The inability to clear balls away and keep the opposing forwards in front was a recipe for disaster.
“It was disappointing” responded Roby on his team’s effort. “I think the defense needs to do a lot better, be faster, talk to each other a lot more. They need to get wide, they are leaving spaces, gaps, it’s frustrating.”
Just a few minutes into the first half, Roby guessed correctly on a penalty shot attempt and was able to make a strong save. It wasn’t the most accurate of shots, but he still had to guess the right direction.
“I just looked at his eyes, that’s usually my way of going about it” chimed Roby. “I tell myself he’s going a certain direction and I commit to it. I just got to be confident, this time I dove the right way.”
“Him saving that, just brings us a lot of confidence” commented senior Brandon Holguin on his keeper. “We get down on ourselves because we see the penalty, but he came through and lifts us right up.”
Holguin would score the Chargers lone goal on a perfectly floated chip shot right below the crossbar to tie the score at 1-1. He also contributed a number of nicely placed balls down the line to spring outside midfielders.
“Brandon is a tremendously talented player, he’s going to be playing at the college level next year” added coach Montes. “He has a scholarship to play at Chico and a couple of other offers out there as well. He’s a tremendously gifted player, great with both feet, his touch is amazing. Offensively he keeps us in just about every game. It was his third goal of the season and he has a couple of assists as well.”
The Chargers’ attacking ability certainly was not the problem in this one, as they created a number of quality looks toward the goal. Defensively though, it was the back line that struggled.
“This has been our issue all year long” described coach Montes on the defensive struggles. “For some reason I have fullbacks that don’t want to head ball. It’s almost outright refusal at this point. This is something that in all my years of coaching, I’ve never seen this from a sweeper or a stopper, that they will not clear the ball with their heads. And this is our only problem. Clearing the ball is the only thing that’s keeping us from winning games. As you can see we had plenty of opportunities to score. We move the ball, we pass the ball, we can bring it out of the back nicely, do it on the ground. That’s not our issue, our issue is not clearing the ball.”
Wilcox begins their league season Jan. 3 against Gunn.