Little Elm 1, Prosper 2

LITTLE ELM — The successful start of the 2017 soccer season has been extended for the Prosper boys’ soccer team. The Eagles boasted an undefeated record in preseason play, competing in both a tournament and regular competition play. The team would stretch their winning streak to 6-0 after defeating the Little Elm Lobos in their district opener.

The match on Jan. 24 saw the Lobos and the Eagles matching well against one another. Battling for possession, Prosper struggled to gain full control of the match. They started off slow, and gave up a goal 10 minutes into the game after failing to properly clearing the ball out. After a scramble in the box, Little Elm found the ball and was able to put it away past the Prosper goalkeeper. The Eagles continued to struggle as a Prosper player received a red card late in the first half, forcing the Eagles to play with just 10 men for the remaining 60 minutes of the match. Prosper High School declined to release the name of the ejected player.

But Prosper didn’t blink, even after the sending-off of the athlete. With just 15 minutes remaining in the first, Little Elm conceded a free kick in which senior Owen Baughman converted with ease to tie the game.

“Being a man down really forced us to change what do normally and how we played,” head coach Ryan Rogers said. “The boys played really hard and fought as hard as they could.”

That fight would be rewarded as Prosper would find the game winner at the 25-minute mark of the second half. The Eagles were awarded a free kick on the right-hand side of the field about 30 yards out. Sophomore Cade York delivered a ball into the box, and junior Sergio Hurtado was at the back post to finish the cross and give the Eagles the 2-1 lead and eventual victory. Rogers said he was pleased with his team’s performance.

“Our heart, grit and dedication to fighting to the very end… its one to be proud of.”

Prosper 3, Carrollton Newman Smith 1

Next up on the schedule would see Prosper matched up against Carrollton Newman Smith on Jan. 27. The Trojans came to Prosper High School with a 0-6-1 record, looking to find their first win of the season. The game began with Smith showing some initiative, using speed to capitalize quickly on counterattacks. Prosper soon settled in, finding their stride and connecting passes. As they gained control of the possession, the Eagles were switching the attack seamlessly from side-to-side.

“Our midfield did a great job of moving the ball quickly and finding gaps in their defense,” Rogers said.

The Eagles took the lead after junior Andrew Crawford assisted Baughman’s header goal. Crawford received the ball from an overlap down the right side of the field and drove a beautiful cross onto the calm and collected head of Baughman. Later in the first half Prosper would double the lead after senior Boni Zarate slipped through ball to a streaking junior Cole Fedorczyk. The outside back ripped a 20-year shot into the side-netting, securing a 2-0 lead into halftime.

Smith came out hard at the beginning of the second, applying a lot of pressure to the Eagles. Prosper continued to combine quickly between players, maintaining the control of the game. The third Prosper goal was a team effort. Junior Dylan Johnson’s initial shot was saved by the Trojan keeper, but junior Chris Nayler-Gress pounced on the rebound and tucked the ball away. Newman Smith’s only attacking threat came in the last five minutes of the match, making the final score 3-1.

With the two victories this week, Prosper moved to 2-0 in district, with an overall record of 7-0. After a match at R.L. Turner on Jan. 31, the Eagles will be back in action on Feb. 3 at McKinney North. The game will begin at 7:15 p.m.