High School Soccer | Victory Christian drops match to Bethel Christian (Va.)

Bethel Christian (Va.) 5, Victory Christian 2

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Victory Christian's Jonathan Rosenberger (7) and Kaden Harris (10) play the ball against a Bethel Christian (Va.) defender during the boys' soccer match, Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at Victory Christian School.


By David Gough
Sports Writer

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tuesday afternoon’s result between the Victory Christian Eagles and Bethel Christian (Va.) Pilots boys soccer teams is a little closer than the final score may indicate.

The Eagles lost their home game 5-2 to Hampton's Bethel, but Victory wasn’t too far behind for most of the match.

Head coach Jeremy Pugh pointed to a slow start as the cause for never being able to tie the game up.

“Just couldn’t get going,” Pugh said. “It took us a long time to get wound up and by the time we got wound up, it was kind of too late. Just did our best to hang in there.”

Victory (1-3) came out of halftime trailing 3-1 as it was evident early on in the second half that the game’s pace was much quicker than the first 40 minutes.

The tempo benefited the Eagles too as they mostly controlled the ball for the first 10 minutes of the half.

Still, they weren’t able to get off any true shots on goal during that span and possession eventually evened out as the game remained at a quicker pace.

Bethel (3-0), once it was able to weather Victory’s aggressiveness, had several open shots on goal that Victory goalkeeper Aiden Miracle stopped and kept the Eagles in the game.

Finally, 14 minutes into the second half, sophomore Jonathan Rosenberger put Victory within one after he shot the ball nearly even with the right side of the net.

The ball hit Bethel goalie Jonas Sebestyen in the hands and bounced in the back right corner of the goal.

It was Rosenberger’s second goal of the game as he also scored Victory’s first one maneuvering his way past several Pilot defenders and hitting the top of the net to cut the deficit to 2-1 at the time.

“Can’t keep up with him,” Pugh said. “He’s just fast and he’s got a lot of support behind him.”

Rosenberger’s second goal to get the Eagles back within one, however, was short-lived.

Only a minute later, Bethel’s Marcus Achenbach scored his third goal of the game to give the Pilots another two-goal lead.

Miracle had made a highlight leaping save seconds prior and Achenbach then hit the crossbar after rebounding the ball, but Achenbach was able to put it in the net as Miracle couldn’t get a hold of it right away.

“We let them dance inside the (six-yard box) for a minute there and they got us with it,” Pugh said. “That just took the wind out of our sails I think.”

The Pilots were able to keep Victory at bay for the rest of the game. A little later, they scored one more goal with Achenbach assisting Jonathan Stackhouse for his second goal.

Opportunities at the net for the Eagles were slim the rest of the way after Achenbach scored his last goal.

Bethel scored the game’s first two goals in the first 24 minutes of the game and had chances to grow their advantage throughout Tuesday’s game.

With the game still scoreless at the time, Torrey Ascher hit the top of the right post and minutes after the first goal, Achenbach nearly scored on a nice give-and-go play with Stackhouse but hit the left post.

A few shots were kicked over the net as well, while Miracle made more than 10 saves in the second half alone.

It’s still early on in the season for Victory, who didn’t have a boys soccer program last year.

Pugh believes there’s some upside to what this team could do.

“This is kind of our reboot year and nobody expects a whole lot from these guys,” Pugh said. “So the goal is to shatter all expectations… If we can get it all together at once, it’s going to be a great season.”