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Dragons dominate

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By Mickey Patterson

CRESTWOOD – The near misses of past seasons are being erased by the South Oldham High School boys’ soccer team this year.

The Dragons have raced out to a 10-1 record this season thanks to 15 seniors and solid work ethic.

“We’ve got a lot of seniors who have been playing together since we were 9-years old and the juniors are playing really well too,” senior midfielder Marshall Rowland said. “A lot of it is team chemistry. We all get along and we all play hard when we are in the game.”

The Dragons, now ranked No. 3 in the state after starting the year ranked 12th, scored two signature wins recently with a 3-2 win over No. 4 Trinity and a 2-0 win over No. 6 Oldham County.

“By beating Trinity and Oldham County it’s a big statement we are ready to compete for the region and even for the state title,” Rowland said.

The Dragons are averaging nearly four goals a game this season thanks mainly to a midfield led by Rowland, Cullen Hall and junior John Cantrell. Rowland and Hall both have seven goals on the season while Cantrell leads the team with seven assists.

SOHS’ lone loss came to West Jessamine 1-0 in the Iron Horse Classic. In addition to the wins over OCHS and Trinity, the Dragons shut out North Oldham 3-0, Christian Academy 4-0 and Elizabethtown 5-1.

“A lot of these guys have been playing on the varsity from two to four years so they have been through all this before,” SOHS coach Denis Beall said.

“We got so close losing in the regional finals last year in a shootout, I think that has stuck with them for a long time and it has driven them to work a lot harder getting ready for the season and to where we are now.”

The Dragons have also been keyed by a solid defense, giving up just 10 goals in the 11 games. Senior goalie John Vitalis has emerged as the leader.

“The whole team is just playing really well together, especially the defense,” Vitalis said. “We communicate really well together on defense. There usually aren’t a lot of free guys running around out there.”

SOHS has district games left with Spencer County and Shelby County in which they will be favored in both to clinch the No. 1 seed and first-round bye in the district tournament.

Also left on the schedule is a game with No. 1 St. X and the SOHS Invitational starting Monday which includes Manual, OCHS, Ballard and West Jessamine.

“We’re not worried about the rankings at all,” Vitalis said. “We have to take care of things on the field and we will end up where we want to be.”

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