CORNELIUS Opening day of the high school soccer season produced its first surprise.
Providence, No. 3 in the Sweet 16, turned an explosive start and tough defense to into a 2-0 win against No. 1 Hough on the Huskies’ home field.
“It’s opening day, so it’s hard to take something off the first game, but we’ll definitely take a win out of it; that’s for sure,” Providence coach Tim Long said. “Any time you can get a ‘W’ is important, no matter when it is.”
Providence struck during an early downpour on sophomore forward Luke Sistare’s goal in the 35th minute to pull ahead 1-0. Sistare stepped in front of senior defender Doug Peterson’s pass from about 8 yards in front of the frame, spun counter-clockwise to gain control and fired a shot that skidded away from Hough goalkeeper Bryce Deeringer’s embrace into the net.
“That was unlucky for their part,” Long said. “I was just glad he took the strike because you never know with rain coming down and the wet turf. You never know how things will go. We got lucky there, and I thought we played well from there.”
Providence made the hole deeper when the rain cleared. Sophomore forward Adam Ziegler muscled past the Hough defense in the 26th minute to slam home a rocket from the left wing to push the bulge to a pair of goals. The Huskies controlled possession for most of the first half, but Providence turned the tables to its advantage in foot speed to take advantage.
“I think we both got something out of it,” Hough coach David Smith said. “We would’ve liked to have played better, but it’s good to play quality opponents early like this because it kind of tells us what we need to work on and improve.”
Hough picked up its offensive intensity early in the second half, but the Panthers held on. Goalkeeper Gordon White, a junior who replaced starter Austin Kent at the break, turned away a couple of potential scoring opportunities, while the Huskies struggled to mount a rally.
“Our second-half keeper came up huge tonight,” Long said. “He had two or three really good saves that were fantastic.”
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