XENIA — After a poor performance in its last game, the Xenia Christian boys soccer team was ready to rebound against Springfield Emmanuel Christian, Thursday at the Athletes in Action soccer field. The Ambassadors shut out the Lions 8-0 for the win.
Xenia Christian dominated the time of possession in the first half, but were unable to convert many good looks at the goal. Players were either missing shots wide or hitting them directly to the goalkeeper. Unofficially, the Ambassadors had 12 shots on goal in the first half.
Despite the misses, Xenia Christian had a 2-0 lead going into the break, with John McCaskey and Sam Harmon each finding the back of the net.
Ambassador coach Landon Stapleton said he wanted to see his team finish those goals.
“Our guys played really well. We were slow in the first half, but we definitely picked it up in the second half. We challenged them at halftime,” he said. “We were being kind of sloppy in the first half, so we told them to clean things up. We wanted to see them play hard the first 10 minutes of the second half.”
The team seemed to have listened. Harmon scored his second goal of the game, under a minute into the second half. Six minutes later, freshman Keano Hammerstrom scored his first of two goals off of a Joey McCaskey assist. Harmon, Hammerstrom and John McCaskey all scored two goals in the match.
Senior Conner Bryant, who hadn’t played soccer last year, was able to score. Ethan Pointer also scored after many good looks. Stapleton said it was nice to see the team having fun.
“When you play hard at the beginning and you get some goals in, you feel like you have some cushion and you can have some fun. It was a fun game for us. We played pretty poorly in our last game, so it was nice to come out here and get a win,” he said.
Emmanuel Christian (0-2) coach Victoria Kesler said she was proud of how her team played, despite being young and lacking depth.
“This is the first time we’ve played on turf, so I think we did pretty well. We had some really good teamwork. There are things we need to improve on and tighten up.”
Xenia Christian (3-2) plays Dixie at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Dixie High School in New Lebanon. Stapleton said there are some worries after getting such a big win.
“This was a game where we played well and things were in our control. It’s easy to be laid back. You might be able to get away with an extra touch or dribble it a little more – things you can’t get away with in other games sometimes,” he said. “It can be dangerous if you go into the next game thinking it’s going to be the same.”
Contact staff writer Zach Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-372-4444, Ext. 2124.