Aaron Paul’s 2018 soccer team is not only talent-laden but also loaded with experience. The team returns 12 players who have started at some point and are upperclassmen. That, along with some gifted freshmen, like Trace Blanton, and sophomores, gives this squad the makings of another team that could possibly make some noise in Region and State Tournament play. A deep group of seniors, led by Nick Seymour, anchors the Bulldog squad that is poised to be one of the best in 8-AAA.
After losses to Jefferson and Clarke Central to set the team back to 2-2, they came out with strong showings against Walnut Grove winning 4-3 and Hart County 4-1. Four different players scored in the Walnut Grove game. They were Wesley Butler, Connor Clark, Phillip Webb, and Nick Seymour. Blanton scored three goals in the Hart County matchup to get his hat trick and Webb got the other in a 4-1 Region win for Morgan to go to 4-2.
This past week, in a boys-only venue, Morgan pitched a 2-0 shutout over Madison County. It was a defensive gem for the Dogs with MOCO dominating time of possession and thwarting any thought by the Raiders of scoring. Colin Sitzman was solid in the goal on a humid night that had the ball skipping on the wet grass to make things even more difficult for him. He recorded a number of saves, gobbling up anything that came close to the net.
In the early part of the first half the two teams were embroiled in a defensive battle until Morgan cranked up a number of shots on goal. With 24:15 showing, Finn Williams centered a nice pass that Blanton and Seymour had a chance at. The shot was wide left. At 15:48, a corner kick resulted in a header that Madison County’s goal keeper made a nice save on. With 13:05, another shot by Ben Adams was just high, and with 11:05 remaining the Dogs got another nice opportunity that they could not convert. Finally, with 9:50 to go in first half play, Clark made a great dribble move through two defenders and scored Morgan’s first goal of the night to give the Dogs the 1-0 lead.
The Raiders began to attack more aggressively after falling behind missing two shots high. One of those had a chance of going in, but a nice tipped-ball save on the part of Sitzman pushed the ball just above the crossbar. Madison County got a yellow card just before the half ended with Morgan leading 1-0.
The second half was a back-and-forth 40 minutes of soccer, but it didn’t take long for MOCO to strike again. With less than four minutes off the clock, Clark got his second goal of the night at the 36:06 mark. The sophomore wingman beat a defender on the right side and snuck a slow roller past an out of place goalie who had come out to defend. The shot slid nicely into the left corner of the net for a 2-0 lead and the final score.
The Dogs go to 5-2 with the win and will play again Friday, Mar. 2 against Region foe Monroe area at home. Both boys and girls teams are slated to play with the girls starting at 5:30 followed by the boys.