ALBANY — The Miami Trace soccer team had a dominant performance Saturday, Aug. 19, out-shooting Alexander 18-4 and generating three corner kicks to zero for Alexander. Much of the game was played in the middle of the field and followed with the Panthers attacking the Spartans’ defense consistently throughout the 80-minute game.
It was a breakthrough for Miami Trace, as the 3-1 victory was the Panthers’ first win in school history versus Alexander High School.
Meanwhile the Panther defense was stout, holding the Spartans to just four shots. The defense was led by junior Eric Taylor and sophomores Landon Burns and Andrew Trout.
Senior Caleb Bowers started in the back with sophomores Bradley Davis and Sinjin Smith and freshman Jayden Cromer constantly rotating in.
Junior Avery Bennett started the game in goal and was solid throughout, recording three saves versus four shots faced.
“The defense has been a real concern for us but we’ve grown so much. It really came together today,” head coach Josh Thoroman said.
Taking a look at the series between the Panthers and the Spartans, Alexander won the Southeast District in 2020, 2018, 2017, and 2015 and were District runners-up in 2019.
Miami Trace had played Alexander four times previously in school history, all post-season tournament games in which the Panthers have lost. Alexander eliminated Miami Trace from tournament play in 2017 (0-3), 2018 (0-2), 2020 (0-7), and 2022 (2-6).
The Spartans scored in the 6th minute of the game when they got loose out on the side and slipped a shot past Bennett.
Trailing 1-0, the Panthers didn’t lose their poise. Junior Ian Mavis drew a penalty kick which was converted by Sekou Mara with 29:09 remaining in the half. Mavis tacked on a goal when senior Pierce McCarty played him through the Spartan defense with 16:55 remaining in the half.
Unfortunately the Panthers’ Spencer Smith received an injury about five minutes into the second half and had to leave the game.
The battle continued in the second half but Miami Trace maintained the pressure.
Both teams appeared to tire as the game wore on. It was a very hot afternoon and the Panthers got important substitute minutes out of the whole team: freshman Jared Griffith, juniors Levi Morrison, Seth Thompson, and Cole Kirkpatrick and sophomores Westley McGuire and Bodie Gurr.
“We needed to continue to attack and we couldn’t let up the pressure. So we subbed a lot to keep our starters as fresh as we could in this heat. I think it worked,” Thoroman said.
Finally Miami Trace broke through again with 2:39 remaining when Mavis split two defenders and then beat the keeper one on one, making the final score 3-1.
“Coach (Glenn) Thompson and I are super proud of the effort of our players today. Alexander is a good team with a tradition of excellence. This is a huge win for us,” Thoroman said.
Miami Trace is at Fairfield High School to take on the Lions Thursday at 6:45 p.m.
The Panthers host London Saturday at 10 a.m.