By VAN HOLLAND
Defense has always been the key to Leshaun Jenkins' coaching strategies and game plans. That paid off for the veteran Tarboro coach and his Vikings Tuesday night. Tarboro used their counterattack sets out of defensive stops which led to numerous opportunities to score. Tarboro converted on two of their many chances in the match and defeated the Nash Central Bulldogs 2-0.
"Our defense did an excellent job tonight protecting our goalie," Jenkins said. "The defense helped us the entire match and they also were able to help our offense in counterattack situations which led to our goals."
The game was somewhat of a redemption match for the Vikings (1-1-1), because the two teams tied 1-1 the first time they played this season. Tuesday's match was nothing like the first one, because the Vikings controlled the clock and the ball. They took 22 shots on goal.
Jenkins is relying on his defense this season. He has four veteran defenders he can count on to get things done for him. Joe Miller, Wesley Hart, Matt Parker and Franklin Arias all know what Jenkins expects of them. That showed when they only allowed Nash Central to take eight shots on goal. Only five of them were legitimate shots. The four all-conference caliber defenders also were a presence for freshman goalie Jordan Williams. He had five saves in just his third match of the season on the varsity level.
"Our defense is not my concern, because we have four guys back there that are veterans and know what I expect of them," Jenkins said. "This is the first time in three years that we have had that. They're all crafty with the ball and know how to play their defensive positions."
Jenkins knew coming into the season he was going to have a good defense, because they had worked all summer on that. He didn't know what to expect from the offensive side of the ball though.
"For the sake of saying it, our defense is going to be the glue of our team this year," Jenkins said. "I have four great defenders and I don't know if I've had that many on a team at once. It turns into a nice luxury."
Jenkins motivated his team from the outset. It showed, because they controlled the ball for 32 of the first 40 minutes of the first half. Down the stretch, the controlled the tempo and used that to their advantage.
Tarboro used their defense to stop the Bulldogs offensive attack and counterattacked the Bulldogs defense off of those stopped possessions.
Jesse Futrell and David Guevara each added a goal in the second half to help seal the win.
Futrell's goal came with 23 minutes left in the match. Arias dribbled down the right side of the field and crossed the ball. The ball got loose inside the goalie box and Futrell got his leg on it and punched it past the Bulldog's goalie.
With a little over two minutes left in the match, Guevara added the insurance goal when he found a seam and forced the Nash Central goalie to come out and contest him. Guevara was able to squeeze the shot past the goalie.
"When odds are against us, nothing changes about what we want to get accomplished," Jenkins said. "I told them that we needed to get two goals before they get one and we did it. It took a while, but I don't mind, because we are young in some areas and are trying to build some chemistry."
Midway through the first half, Tarboro missed three opportunities to score when they forced the Bulldog goalie out of the goal. On all three occasions the Viking midfielders couldn't get off a decent shot and the possessions fell apart.
Tarboro is back in action Thursday when they travel to play county rival SouthWest Edgecombe. The match is set to begin at 5 p.m.