Whether it was the cold, damp conditions or the standard first game jitters, the Dawson County High School soccer season started with a pair of losses for both the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams in their pre-season scrimmage against White County on Jan. 31.
Despite the end results neither head coach, Chess Hamby for the Tigers, nor Patrick Muenchen for the Lady Tigers appeared to be discouraged by the final score. While acknowledging the weaknesses that were present, both saw the strength of their teams and predicted better things to come as the 2020 season gets underway.
The game between the Lady Warriors and the Lady Tigers started off at a fast pace as both teams came to the field eager to begin the 2020 campaign.
White County took advantage of some early confusion and a lot of open space in the Dawson backfield to slip a shot past keeper Addison Hoard at the three-minute mark to take an early 1-0 lead.
After the opening goal, the Lady Tigers settled into a solid 4-5-1 defense with Molly Muenchen as the lone striker and Maggie Wright taking charge of the backfield. The tactic proved effective at stopping White County’s attacks, as the Lady Warriors won the possession battle and spent the majority of the first half on the attack.
Despite heavy pressure by White County several opportunities presented themselves, but Dawson County was unable to take full advantage of the chances and the first-half ended with the Lady Tigers having no shots on goal and trailing by a 1-0 margin.
“We played hard, but we missed a few opportunities early that put us behind the 8-ball,” Hamby said. “With it being early in the season our touch is a little off at times, so we lost some possessions that we shouldn't have.”
Continuing to press their advantage, the Lady Warriors increased the pressure after the break and were able to double the lead with a quick strike in the early minutes of the second half. A second goal in the latter part of the half extended the lead to 3-0 and effectively put the game out of reach for the Lady Tigers.
“At this point, I would say the biggest strength is their work ethic,” Hamby said. “I am looking forward to watching this group grow and improve together. They are eager to come out and get better so I think our best soccer is still ahead of us.”
The first official game of the 2020 campaign took place on the road against the Forsyth Central Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Results were unavailable as of press time.
In the second game of Friday’s double-header the Dawson County Tigers faced-off with the White County Warriors in another scrimmage that marked the first action of the season for both teams.
Playing a more aggressive, attacking formation the Tigers were able to mount several striking runs on the Warriors goal, but missed passes and a lack of field awareness prevented the team from maintaining any significant momentum through the first half.
“We need to work on our passing game,” Muenchen said. “We had a few opportunities that could have given us the victory including a goal that was called back for offsides.”
Despite White County scoring three goals over the course of the game, the efforts of the Tigers’ defense kept the game close and stood out as a bright spot in the team’s performance throughout the evening match.
“Our boys played with a lot of heart,” Muenchen said. “Keeper Gio Hernandez had 13 saves and all three of our defenders had goal-line saves.”
The Tigers avoided the shut-out when junior Caleb Bonesteel connected on a free-kick from 40-yards out, but in the end, the scrimmage went to the Warriors by a final score of 3-1.
“Everything we do is geared towards getting better and adjusting our formation and finding out who works best and where,” Muenchen said. “We have some larger schools and tough teams at the start that I hope will prepare us for region play.”
Dawson County took on the Forsyth Central Bulldogs on Feb. 4 in the opening game of the 2020 regular season. Results were unavailable as of press time.