The habit of starting the second half slowly by the Somerset soccer team proved to be costly in their WIAA Division 3 regional tournament opener against Spooner last Tuesday.
The Spartans led 1-0 at halftime of their homefield playoff game. But the lethargic play by the Spartans to start the second half gave an opening for the winless Spooner team to exploit. And the Rails did just that, scoring three times in the second half to defeat Somerset, 3-1. The loss ends Somerset’s season with a 2-19-1 record.
Somerset held the 1-0 lead after senior James Clute scored 21 minutes into the game. There was a scrum in front of the Spooner goal, with the ball squirting back to Clute, who had stationed himself a few feet away from the fray. When the ball popped free, he quickly blasted it toward the Spooner net for the opening goal.
Clute’s goal was the best scoring chance for either team in the first half, though the Spartans were probably more consistent threats in the half. If there was one knock on the Spartans’ play in the first half, it was they were passing up on good shot possibilities when they had the ball deep in Spooner’s end of the field.
That changed in the second half. Spooner opened the half as the more energetic team and it paid off. The Rails got the tying goal at the 58:46 mark. Two minutes later, the Rails scored off a corner kick that seemed to sap whatever energy the Spartans still had.
“Every time at halftime I talk about having energy and intensity,” said Somerset coach Bill Roll, who said the slow starts to the second half have been a recurring pattern.
The Spartans began to push forward, trying to create openings to get the tying goal. Spooner was able to launch a long lead pass to their main offensive threat, who went in for a breakaway goal late in the action.
The Spartans only graduate three seniors, but two of them are the team’s leading scorers, Clute and Elliot Olin. Roll said finding goal scorers will be a premium for next season, quickly adding that team-wide improvement is needed.
“We need more guys to step up and work hard in the offseason. We need more guys to play in the summer in an organized format. If you do what you did in the offseason last year, we’ll be in the same position,” Roll said.