Penalty kick creates offensive success in 2-1 win for boys varsity soccer over Northview

Tommy Spaletto

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Senior Sammy Postlewait’s penalty kick goal would be the offensive spark the boys varsity soccer team needed to complete a well-played game and secure the win against the Northview Wildcats 2-1. This goal created many more opportunities on the offensive end and eventually led to another goal from senior Richie Alvarez. For Sammy, it was all about finding the goal more than the last time these two teams met. 

“My thoughts were the last time we played them, we struggled to find the back of the net,” Sammy said. “They’re a very well-rounded team and we just needed to move the ball around and stay calm in front of the net.”

As great as the offense looked in the second half, a huge reason why the Rangers were able to win against the Wildcats was the defense. Senior Ethan Hale and junior Matthew Mahoney put on a clinic to close out the game after Northview had cut the lead to one goal. The defense’s key to success is something that they’ve been working on all year, communication. 

“I attribute the strong defensive performance from me and my teammates almost entirely to our communication,” Matthew said. “In the past, we have really struggled with keeping marks, and Ethan and I really picked it up communication-wise today, which enabled me to be in advantageous positions to win a lot of headers. I didn’t have to worry about anything because I knew there was cover for me waiting behind.”

The first half went as expected between these two teams, with a very similar time of possession and many momentum swings. The Rangers were first to fire when senior Micah Gschwind took the first shot on goal of the game, but it was saved by the Wildcat goalie. The defense also made its presence known early, as Matthew made an outstanding slide tackle to halt a sudden Northview breakaway to the goal. The relentlessness from both sides continued as Richie and Sammy kept firing shots, but none of them could find the back of the net. Senior goalie Kyler Williams had another outstanding night in net, making 9 saves on the night, including some huge saves early to prevent the Wildcats from getting an early lead.

FHC’s defense hit a cold stretch in the middle of the first half when it was exposed with some excellent ball movement from the Wildcats. But the Rangers were able to regroup and finish the half strong with some nice headers along with winning many 50/50 balls. Just as the defense was finding it’s groove towards the end of the first half, so was the offense. Sammy and Micah led the offense down the field to fire up a few more shots on Northview’s goalie in the last ten minutes, but they could not fall and FHC and the Wildcats went into halftime all tied up at 0. 

Kyler and the FHC defense picked up right where they left off with a nice save to set the tone for what was going to be an all-around excellent half. As FHC eventually got their offense rolling, Northview did as well. The Wildcats were able to get some shots up near the box, but they missed the goal thanks to the great pressure from the defense. With time winding down, and both teams becoming more worn down as the game progressed, the game’s biggest play occurred. 

Junior Brady Price was fouled inside the box and created an opportunity to give the Rangers the lead on a penalty kick. Sammy sank the shot in the bottom left corner, and this gave FHC the confidence they had been looking for on offense. For head coach Paul Kramer, his star offensive player getting his confidence back was the best thing that could’ve happened. 

“[The goal] was big in a few different ways,” Kramer said. “First, it helped build some confidence in Sammy, [which] was the icing on the cake for his performance. Second, goals can change games. That PK was a monumental momentum boost for our boys. You could see the intensity ramp up afterward, which lead to the second goal. And third, the boys needed to catch a break. Sometimes this season, they just miss the chance to grab the game by its neck, so it was nice to see the boys do that tonight.” 

After the big goal from Sammy, the offense had just come naturally. FHC marched right back down the field and got Richie Alvarez a goal, which put even more confidence into a very driven Ranger team. After Northview put in a goal to get on the board, the defense put on a masterful performance to shut the door on the Wildcats’ chances to win the game. Matthew and Sammy made every slide tackle and header possible to keep Northview out of the game and preserve this win for the Rangers. They were able to succeed and FHC was able to win 2-1. 

This win puts FHC’s record at 3-5-3 overall and 3-3-1 in the OK White conference. The Rangers now shift their attention to a road showdown with the Greenville Yellow Jackets. However, for Kramer and the team, the focus isn’t on the conference standings; It’s being able to be consistent and just win a string of games. 

“None of us are too worried about the standings of the conference at this point,” Kramer said. “We need to put together a string of consistent performances like tonight, and then later we can discuss where we fall in the conference. It’s all about taking steps towards improvement, and the boys took a giant step tonight.”