Callaway stays hot with win over Temple
Published 12:43 am Thursday, March 29, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They’re riding high.
With Wednesday’s 5-0 home win over the Temple Tigers, the Callaway Cavaliers ran their unbeaten streak to eight games.
More importantly, Callaway (8-3-2 overall) closed its Region 5-AA soccer schedule with a 7-1 record, and it finished tied for first with Lamar County.
Lamar County will be the region’s top seed for the state playoffs based on goal differential in its two games with Callaway.
Lamar County won 4-0 on its home field, and Callaway won the rematch 4-2 on Tuesday.
Callaway is off until April 9 when it visits Harris County, and it will play three more regular-season games before hosting a state-playoff game.
All four of Callaway’s remaining four regular-season games are against quality opponents, and head coach Mike Petite hopes that will help keep the team sharp.
“We’re trying to be challenged, and be pushed,” Petite said. “Hopefully we will still be on top of our game (by the playoffs).”
When Callaway lost to Lamar County on March 2, it had a 2-3-1 overall record, and it was 1-1 in the region.
Since then, the Cavaliers are 7-0-1, and they won their final six region games.
Petite felt Wednesday’s game could be a challenging one.
On Tuesday night, Callaway played an emotionally-charged and hard-fought game against Lamar County, and it scored the final two goals in the second half to get the 4-2 win. Less than 24 hours later, Callaway was back on the field against a team it easily beat earlier in the season.
“We talked about it going it that this may very well be the hardest game we’ve played all year long,” Petite said. “We were coming off the emotion of last night, and it’s a team we beat 8-1 before.”
While the Cavaliers had a 2-0 halftime lead, Petite felt the effort could have been better, and he was pleased to see the players take a leadership role at the half.
While the coaches stood to the side, it was the players who encouraged each other during the halftime break.
“They were talking about it for a good three, four minutes,” Petite said. “They said we’ve got to play better.”
The Cavaliers came out strong to the start second half, and they dominated the final 40 minutes.
“You could see they were inspired, they were into it,” Petite said.
Grayson Lambert led Callaway with two goals, and Ian Bryan, Noah Stephens and Alex Shea had one goal apiece.
Bryan now has 25 goals in 13 games, and Petite said he’s got a great chance to set the program record for goals in a season.
While the offense is there, Callaway’s defense is soaring as well.
During the eight-game unbeaten streak, the Cavaliers have given up four goals, and they have four shutouts.
At the back end of the defense is goal keeper Josh Cooprider, and Petite said he has come into his own.
“He is playing with such tremendous confidence,” Petite said. “He had all the tools, now he has the confidence going. He’s doing some really good things.”