WAKEFIELD – The good start to the 2013 season for the Prout boys soccer team just seems to keep getting better.
After three big wins to start the year, the Crusaders came out and dominated the first half of game four Wednesday afternoon and rolled on from there for a 3-1 win over visiting Tiverton.
“It was a good performance for us today,” said Prout coach Tim Ryan. “We knew coming into this game that it was going to be a tough match. Tiverton always is competitive in the league. They’re always one of the better teams. They always have good teams, good skill players, they play very athletic.”
Knowing the challenge ahead of them, Ryan wanted his team to come out fast and strong.
Tiverton gained control right away and kept the Crusaders hemmed in their own end for the game’s first few minutes, but Prout broke free and on their first offensive opportunity in the game’s third minute, Jake Covell fed the ball through the Tiverton defense to Kevin Brew who had slipped in behind and walked in alone to put Prout up 1-0.
From there, the remainder of the half belonged to the Crusaders.
In the 13th minute, Drew Mace danced his way through three Tiverton defenders to set up Brew for his second goal of the game.
Mitchell Raymond then made it three unanswered in the 39th minute after Brew set him up for a point blank attempt.
“We have a good group of young kids that are pretty solid on the ball,” Ryan said. “A part of the preparation of going into today was not running through them or running at them, but more moving around them, finding the right spaces and passing, moving, offering help.”
The game took a different tone, however, as the teams came back from halftime.
Trailing 3-0 and having been thoroughly dominated in the first 40 minutes, the Tigers were uninspired and lackluster at the onset of the second.
As their opponents play slowed, so did the Crusaders’ and it cost them midway through the half as Tiverton caught them sleeping, finally getting on the board in the 66th minute to make it 3-1.
The goal, however, woke the Crusaders who regained enough of their form to limit any further damage, keeping the score where it was until the game’s end.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge for us. Going into the game we stepped up how we prepared the last couple of days, making sure we were ready for a tough game,” Ryan said.
“In the first half we definitely showed that, then I’m not sure if it was getting a little too comfortable, getting a little casual or if we were tired, but they kind of took control in the second half and were able to put one back, but overall we were able to get the result we wanted.”
The second half may have been sloppy, but it was still the Crusaders’ fourth win in four games. And for as good as they have been this season – sitting a top the Division III standings with an undefeated record, having entered Wednesday’s contest with the top ranked offense and defense – it is likely they have only scratched the surface on how good the may be come the end of the fall.
“I knew we were going to be competitive. I didn’t know we were going to bust out the gates this way,” Ryan said. “We’re a young team. There’s a lot of new guys, we’re still putting guys in different positions everyday, so we don’t really have an identity or a shape yet. We’re still toying with things, but maybe that’s what’s going to help us along the way.
“…I think we’ll get better. We definitely got better today over last week. Our game last Friday we played a very sloppy and unorganized first half against St. Rays and it took they guys a few minutes at half time to realize this isn’t the way we play, this isn’t what we’re capable of and then we played a fantastic second half against those guys.
“Going into today, our preparation was to carry on with that. We need to come out right away, take control of the game, possess the ball, get right at them. If they push, push back. We don’t want to sit back and let the game come to us, we want to get out and get all over the game right away. If we can continue with that philosophy and that style, I think we’ll be all right.”
The Crusaders will wrap up this week of play with a Friday afternoon road game, travelling to Warwick Vets for a 3:45 kickoff against the Hurricanes.