Learning curve pays off for Woods Cross’ boys soccer teamJun 04, 2021 01:25PM ● By Matthew John
Out-maneuvered: Woods Cross’ #7, Elvis Corado dribbles around Olympus’ Mitchell Brown as the Wildcats out-scored the Titans 5 to 2 in First Round State play-off action in May.
The COVID-shortened season was inevitably going to change a lot of how high school sports were normally played at Woods Cross. Whether it directly altered the season or not, one thing was for sure. The circumstances surrounding the boys soccer season were going to make things a little more difficult than usual.
“This season, the region we've been in, in all the years I’ve been coaching high school, boys and girls, has probably been the toughest,” Head Coach David Newman said. “Everybody was beating everybody, so every game was hard.”
However, they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that’s exactly how these circumstances benefited the soccer team. The tough circumstances gave them a learning curve that only served to prepare them for the postseason.
“It is good prep for when you get into the playoffs,” Newman said. “There wasn’t a single easy game. Every game was a scrap so preparation for region was good for us.”
The learning curve was on display in their playoff game against Olympus High. Olympus drew first blood early when they scored first very early on in the game. Even after Woods Cross tied it not too long afterward, Olympus was making their presence felt when they took a 2-1 lead shortly after that. However, Woods Cross wasn’t phased by the scoring early on because they had been there before and knew that there was still plenty of game left.
“If you’re going to concede a penalty, it’s better to do it with four minutes gone than with four minutes to go,” Head Coach David Newman said. “We had a very tough preseason where we were down in two or three games and we came back.”
But Olympus’ early scoring did not get Woods Cross down. Over time, they altered their in-game strategy, which made the difference. Olympus failed to score again after that, as Woods Cross stormed back to win 5-2.
“It's like that expression, ‘When all those around you are losing their heads, can you keep yours?’ and that’s the important thing,” Newman said. “We changed things a lot in the second half to counter what they were doing and it relied on people staying focused and doing their jobs, and for the most part, we did.”
The Wildcat season ended on May 18 with a 3-1 loss to Maple Mountain, a team that took a 14-4 record into a state semifinal. Woods Cross finished with a season record of 10-8 overall. Landon Ward led Woods Cross is scoring with 7 goals, while Elvis Corado and Jagger West both scored 4 goals. Keeper Michael Williams had 3 shutouts.