PITTSBURG — There was a buzz of anticipation and excitement on the soccer pitch at Pittsburg High School on Thursday, where the Purple Dragons officially kicked off the season with the annual purple-white scrimmage which ended in a 1-1 tie.
Both teams hit the scoreboard in the early going, but were held scoreless in the second half by strong defense and goalie play.
“We were trying some new things to see who was going to work well together in tight spaces,” PHS head coach Kyle Bockover said. “I was really looking to see how the midfield for the varsity team was going to work together, so I think now we have a better idea of what we’re going to do once the season starts. We’ve got some things to work on in practice, but we were just trying to help us figure out who is going to be where.”
Despite coming into the scrimmage as the underdog, purple came through with a quick goal by Blake Foster at the 27 minute-mark of the first half to go up 1-0.
“Blake came off that pass quick and his speed allowed him to get to the ball, and he had a great finish,” Bockover said. “Blake will be a player who will be doing work for the varsity and junior varsity teams, but he volunteered to suit up with JV today and lead them. He’s a great leader.”
White responded with a goal of their own five minutes later, as Logan Bockover found the back of the net from the left side to tie the game at one apiece.
White kept possession for a majority of the contest, but had several shots on goal turned away by the keepers Fernando Moran and Griffin Cooper.
“Fernando had some big-time saves when he was going up against the varsity in the first half, so I liked what I saw out of him,” Kyle Bockover said. “Griffin is a great communicator out there and he has great vision. He moves the team around based on what he sees and does a good job with that.”
Although purple had fewer scoring opportunities, they held their own against a tough varsity squad.
“I liked the movement through the midfield section,” Kyle Bockover said. “I liked the way they were moving, passing, coming off the ball and finding each other. Towards the end of the game, the communication improved a lot more than when the game started. Both teams looked decent for where we are in the season. There’s still some work to do, but both teams had things that I liked as well.”
With another purple-white scrimmage in the books, the Purple Dragons came away with a better idea of what they need to work on in practice.
“Our speed of play has to improve,” Kyle Bockover said. “Our passes on the attack seem like they lack a little intent, so we have to get a little more focused on our attack. Tactically, there’s some things we’re going to have to do because we have some tough opponents coming up. We have to have a little more intent, but it’s early in the season and we’ll get those things corrected.”
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.