CARROLLTON — The boys soccer team continued to trudge through the second half of district play, taking on two very strong Carrollton teams last week: Newman Smith and RL Turner. The two games were of utmost importance, as the Eagles look to gain some momentum in the standings to break their tie for third place with Smith.
Prosper 1, Newman Smith 0
Prosper traveled down to Carrollton for the Feb. 22 match against the Trojans of Newman Smith. From the opening whistle, the Eagles tried to create an early chance, moving the ball around the field in an attempt to figure out Smith’s gameplay, but the Trojans remained solid defensively.
Prosper continued to persist in its attack, utilizing their speed on the outside to exploit Newman Smith’s back line. Their persistence would soon pay off early in the first half. The Eagles were awarded a free kick, and Chris Nayler-Gress stepped up to take the kick. He sent in a curving ball from the left side of the field into the box, where senior Owen Baughman effortlessly headed in the go-ahead goal. The goal seemed to energize the Eagles, who began to create several other opportunities later in the half, to no avail, however.
The 1-0 advantage would stick through halftime.
Smith did not go down without a fight, beginning the second half with high intensity. As the half continued, Prosper felt the pressure of their efforts to tie the game. Despite several Trojan attacks, the boys remained resilient in their game. The Eagle defense held solid for the remainder of the half, led by senior goalkeeper Josh Goss who made several key saves.
Prosper was able to outlast its opponents as Baughman’s goal gave the Eagles their third win in a row. The victory also allowed Prosper to take sole control of third place in District 14-5A.
Prosper 3, RLTurner 0
As the boys stepped on the field Friday night, they knew they had a very difficult task ahead of them. Last time the two teams met, Turner handed Prosper a deafening 8-1 defeat. Coach Ryan Rogers and the team were eager to get the game started, and the atmosphere couldn’t have been any better for a great matchup.
Turner opened the game with a high-pressure attack, creating some convincing chances early in the half. But Prosper goalkeeper Cash Varner and the Eagle defensive line were persistent in keeping the Lions from scoring the first goal. Prosper began building confidence as the half continued, bringing its own intensity as the team began to settle into the match with a few dangerous goal-scoring opportunities of its own. Both teams were clawing to find that first goal, but at the half, the score remained tied at 0-0.
In stark contrast to the last meeting, at the half Prosper was confident it could come out with the win. As the second unfolded, players began to increase their pressure on the Lions’ back line, moving the ball around the field trying to find that crucial first goal.
Alex Vartabedian would give Prosper its lead after Joe Vannette slotted a cross into Vartabedian. The freshman would come up big in the match again, adding two more goals to the lead, including a tricky display of skill through several Lion defenders to beat the goalkeeper. Turner tried to find a way back into the game, but with all the momentum with the home team, Prosper was able to keep from conceding and coasted to a 3-0 victory over their opponents.
Following the win, the Eagles are now tied for second place with Carrollton Creekview in district 14-5A, with a standing record of 11-2-2, 6-2-2 in district. Rogers said that the morale was high after the team, as the win was a great confidence builder going into next week. The Eagles will take the weekend to rest in preparation for Tuesday’s match again McKinney North.