GMC soccer teams fall in home openers
The Georgia Military College men and women’s soccer teams kicked off their respective seasons on Wednesday against Spartanburg Methodist College.
In the first match of the afternoon, Lady Pioneers Erin Rothweiler and Julie Nicholson propelled Spartanburg past GMC 8-0.
GMC goalkeeper Rachel Cooper was equal to the Lady Pioneers first shot, but had no chance to make a save a few minutes later when her defense let Rothweiler latch on to an entry pass and score.
Moments later, Nicholson bounded into the area and connected with a cross to score Spartanburg’s second goal. Unable to muster any offense and under constant pressure, the Lady Bulldogs buckled and conceded a penalty. Neither team could lay claim to the fourth goal, as the ball bounced back and forth off several players and then rolled into the back of the net.
Rothweiler, working out of defense, thwarted one of the few GMC attacks and then struck the ball down the sideline to begin a movement that culminated in the Lady Pioneers’ fifth goal. Then, just before the half ended, Nicole Breighner miss-hit a cross that floated into the back of the GMC net and made it 6-0.
For most of the second half, the Lady Pioneers were content to knock the ball around the back and keep possession. On the few occasions they ventured forward, they met with some success and the match finished 8-0.
The men’s game began at a frantic pace with neither side able to possess the ball for more than a few passes. As with the women’s match, it was the Pioneers who managed to settle down and take control of the game.
At first, the Spartanburg midfield pairing of Matt Davis and Akille Jules sent long balls over the top to test the Bulldogs defense. When GMC handled this approach, the Pioneers changed tactics and began attacking on the ground.
However, it wasn’t until the Bulldog defense conceded a penalty that the game really opened up. Following the Jules conversion, Jason Roberts made it 2-0 when he found the net from 20 yards.
Moments later, it was Scott Bell’s turn to rocket a long shot past the Bulldogs. Jules helped cap off another good spell of Pioneer pressure when he delivered a cross from the corner to one of his teammates, who brought it down and volleyed into the back of the net to increase the Pioneer lead to 4-0.
With Davis and Jules having their way in the middle of the park, GMC was finding it very difficult to get anything going on offense. The Pioneers gave them little time or space and consistently forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on errors.
On the other side of the ball, Davis took advantage of the space he found in front of the Bulldog penalty area and scored. Sal Jimenez beat three GMC defenders to give the Pioneers a 6-0 at the half.
In the second half, Spartanburg kept piling on the pressure.
Davis helped open the scoring when he flicked the ball inside to an unmarked forward, who buried the ball and made it 7-0. He was on the receiving end a few minutes later, when he streaked inside the area and headed the ball into the goal.
GMC gave up another goal before they finally put some pressure on the Pioneer defense. There were about 15 minutes left when the Bulldogs won a free kick. The resulting shot cleared the wall, but was tipped over by the goalkeeper.
The Pioneers managed one more goal before the whistle, making the final score 10-0.
Despite both his teams falling to defeat, GMC head coach Robert Brunel was positive after the games. He stressed that his women’s team had only practiced two days before Tuesday’s match.
“The girls haven’t been working that long,” Brunel said. “The other team was in far better shape, but we’ll get there.”
Turning his attention to the men’s side, Brunel said the Bulldogs didn’t mark on defense and weren’t able to get into an offensive rhythm.
“We let them come at us too much,” he said. “And we couldn’t transition to mount anything on offense.”
“We can correct a lot of our problems over the next few weeks.”
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