The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 18, 2013

Woodrow defense smothers Nitro

Flying Eagles have no letdown in win

By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer

BECKLEY — There was no letdown Tuesday night.

Woodrow Wilson’s defense made sure of it.

The Flying Eagles’ back line held Nitro without a shot on goal, while providing its offense with numerous opportunities in a 4-0 victory at the YMCA’s Paul Cline Stadium.

“The defense played well, and also did a good job coming up and winning balls in the air,” coach Rockey Powell said. “Our offensive guys had a lot of turnovers, but they capitalized a bit better.”

Powell had not been happy with his team’s play in two games last week. Woodrow trailed Oak Hill 1-0 at the break Thursday, but went on to lose 4-0. On Saturday, Woodrow led 1-0 at halftime over Cabell Midland, only to settle for a 1-1 draw.

“We played differently tonight. We were more aggressive,” Powell said. “We didn’t have that second-half lull. We came out and played two halves of soccer, and that’s important.”

Woodrow dominated possession, and barraged Nitro goalkeeper Chris Klocke from the outset.

Early on, Klocke survived shots on frame by Justin Johnson, Corey Accord and Brandon Chandler. Two other shots by the Flying Eagles went wide.

But they found paydirt in the 14th minute when Johnson cut loose on a breakaway, gliding by two defenders and firing past Klocke for a 1-0 lead.

Woodrow’s speed advantage was apparent, and the defense began moving into Nitro’s half of the field every chance it got.

“We had guys crashing the goal. We told them to take chances tonight, and they did,” Powell said.

Still, five more shots misfired wide or high before, following a corner kick in the 36th minute, Accord scored from up close on a short pass from senior defender Matt Sumpter.

Sumpter struck again early in the second half, once more after a corner kick. The ball came to Sumpter 12 yards out, and he sent it in the air to Colin Planté, who easily flicked it over Klocke to make it 3-0.

“Matt does a good job in the back, and he places the ball pretty well on set plays,” Powell said. “He puts it in there.”

Sixteen minutes later, Woodrow scored a final time on a breakaway by Accord.

The junior got the ball near midfield and outran a defender into the box. Klocke could do little as Accord ripped the ball past him.

Accord had scored several goals two weeks ago, and had been named Soccer Player of the Week by The Register-Herald. But last week he was silent.

“We’ve been fussing at Corey, trying to get him back on track and making those runs again,” Powell said. “He’s blessed with speed.”

Klocke finished with five saves in goal. Backup Christian Legg made two, including one at point-blank range.

Defensively, Woodrow gave no quarter to the 2-5 Wildcats. They not only did not take a shot on-frame, but tried just two shots of any kind in the contest. Both were in the first half.

The Flying Eagles’ back line featured Sumpter, Jacob Hughes, Jamie Rose and  Johnson. Colton Hatfield fronted them in midfield. Goalkeepers Josh Moore and Josh Chipps were seldom troubled on the evening.

“I’m very pleased with what we did tonight,” Powell said.

Woodrow (4-3-3) will play a 5:30 p.m. match Saturday at Capital.

— E-mail: dstillwell@