Cavs can win with 10, too
Even down to 10 players, Southern Lee's soccer team proved it can control the ball, and control a match, Monday night. Despite being shorthanded for more than half the match, the Cavaliers (3-0) were never threatened in a 3-0 victory over visiting Triton (0-2).
Center midfielder Ethan Helsman got the Cavaliers out to the perfect start, and while the Cavs had two Helsman goals by the time they lost a player due to a red card in the 37th minute, instead of bunkering in and simply protecting their two goals, the Cavaliers kept practically as much possession and put together more flurries inside the visitors' penalty box playing with 10.
In the sixth minute, after the opening minutes were entirely in the Hawk half of the field, Helsman fought for a 50-50 ball outside the top of the Triton box. He controlled it, created space for himself with one touch of the ball, then ripped a 25-yard strike into the goal.
The Cavaliers kept the pressure coming, but were missing the perfect timing for a finish. New Cavalier head coach Chris Palme kept urging his players to make simple plays and keep the game simple. Helsman's second goal was a good, simple play, with a touch of luck.
This time Cavalier possession built the attack and Daniel Ramirez played a quick pass from the right sideline in to Helsman's path. Again with one exact dribble, then a long shot, but then a slight deflection off a Hawk defender, Helsman hit the back of the net, making it 2-0 Cavaliers in the 34th minute.
Three minutes later, an argument after a whistle for a foul in midfield led to a yellow card on a Hawk player and a red given to Ramirez.
Going to 10 men changed very little for the Cavaliers. Seven minutes into the second half, the Cavaliers struck in a blink to go up 3-0.
Jair Cejudo sent a 35-yard ball from well out on right midfield across the goal. Isaias Cruz made the perfect run, brought the long pass down softly and fired a low drive by the Hawk keeper.
The Hawks went through three goalkeepers in the match. Starting keeper Raynor Weaver left with an injury after making a fully-extended diving save on a Cavalier shot late in the first half.
Southern Lee had starting keeper Jeremy Hoover play the first half and Colin Yoder play the second 40 minutes.
The Cavaliers have two matches to play before starting their Cape Fear Valley schedule. Southern Lee travels to Panther Creek Thursday for a 6:30 p.m. start. The Cavs will host Richmond County at 7 p.m. Saturday.