Soccer is one of those rare games during which you can dominate your opponent for the entire match, and still wind up on the losing end of the scoreboard.
That’s exactly what happened to the boys’ soccer team on Tuesday.
Panthers controlled the ball in their half of the pitch almost the entire game, and their number of scoring chances were at least triple their foe’s.
But none of that matters if you can’t find the back of the net, as Collingswood managed to do, falling 2-0 to Woodbury High School on Tuesday.
“You gotta execute,” Panthers coach John Jones said. “You don’t execute, you don’t win. It’s that simple.”
Collingswood's chances started early, when senior forward Chris Michael sent a shot wide right of the keeper. A few minutes later, junior midfielder Ryan Dick used some skillful moves to beat two defenders down near the end line, but couldn’t beat Wolverines' keeper Casey Sharp.
Sharp was on-point all game, making seven saves to earn the shutout.
After going into halftime with no score, and midway through the second half, Kenneth Everingham was able to get a shot past Panther keeper Dan Robinson to give his team the lead—for good.
“We took a six, then stood and watched,” a clearly frustrated Jones said. “The kid had momentum and the ball bounced back towards our goal. They had momentum and speed going on to the play and they slipped it past our goalie, who was sleeping. Just like that, they were up 1-0.”
The goal set up off a furious rally from Collingswood, but the team still simply couldn’t find the back of the net.
Panthers passed up chance after chance, but were unable to capitalize.
Sam Harris sent a through-ball in the box, which was just out of Michael’s reach. A few minutes later, Harris made a nice move to get off a shot that Sharp was able to block. Dick took a shot off the rebound, but it sailed harmlessly across the face of the net for a goal kick. Soon after that, Michael sent a nice ball through the middle, but Scott Irwin sent it sailing high over the goal.
Things went from bad to worse in minute 72, when Jay Freehling was given a red card on a hard foul. That led to Isaiah Owens connecting on a penalty kick to seal the game.
But that wasn't the worst thing to come from the red card. As a result of the card being a “straight red,” Freehling now must serve a 2-game suspension.
And if one more Panther gets a red card this season, Collingswood will be ineligible for the postseason. New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) rules state that if a team receives three red cards in one season, they are banned from any postseason play.
“The official first described it as a yellow red, then came back and said it was a caution double-yellow,” Jones said. “Then he came back and said it was a single red, which means (Jay Freehling) has to be suspended.”
Panthers, who now stand at 6-7 on the season, next travel to West Deptford High School this Thursday.