Battle between Western Brown, Little Miami ends in tie –
By Wade Linville –
Starting their season off on a six-game winning streak marked the best start in school history for a Western Brown varsity boys soccer team, and this year’s Broncos haven’t shown signs of letting up.
The Broncos faced off against a skilled team of Little Miami High School on Sept. 10, an exciting non-league bout that ended in a 1-1 tie.
Following Saturday’s tie, the Broncos stood at an overall record of 6-0-1 and were unbeaten in Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference American Division play at 5-0 in their quest to claim the school’s first ever league title in varsity boys soccer.
With some impressive saves by Western Brown’s Sam Linkous, the Broncos held Little Miami scoreless in the first half. On the other end of the field, aggressive defense by Little Miami would prevent the Broncos from scoring in the first 40 minutes of play, as the first half ended in a 0-0 tie.
It was Western Brown’s Colston Roades finally breaking the knot, driving in a goal from the ground with 37:16 to go in the second half to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead.
With 24:35 remaining in the second half, it was Little Miami’s Josh Maile firing for a goal to tie the game at one apiece.
Excellent play by Western Brown defenders Wesley O’Hara, Jordan Hamblin, Austin Schweitzer, Gabe O’Hara, and Linkous would prevent Little Miami from scoring another goal in the final 24 minutes of play, as the Broncos were able to remain unbeaten on the season.
Saturday’s non-league contest may not have resulted in the Broncos’ seventh straight victory, but it was still an outstanding team effort by the Western Brown varsity boys squad.
The awesome start to the season comes to no surprise for first-year Western Brown boys soccer coach Bobby Kuntz, who recognized his Broncos’ potential during the preseason.
“I would say that we definitely knew we were capable of this kind of start. With all the work the boys had put in during the offseason and preseason, we knew we had the makings of something special,” said Kuntz. “What it was going to come down to, which is something we communicated to the boys, was are we going to be able to play our style of soccer regardless of the opponent and were we going to seize our moments when they presented themselves. So far, the answers to both of those questions have been yes which is the biggest reason for the 6-0 start. Staying true to what got us here is going to be the key for having a successful end to the season. I don’t think there is anything more we could ask from the boys right now. They have done a wonderful job of coming together as a cohesive unit, and our performances have shown that. We have also had many specific individuals give great performances so far. First on that list would have to be our goalkeeper Sam Linkous. He has recorded five shutouts in six games and only allowed one goal all season. In the game against Amelia he broke the school record for shutouts in a season. Our defensive line in front of him has also played extremely well, led by Gabe O’Hara. Gabe has a knack for positioning himself in the right spots and keeping our back line organized. He also possess the speed and strength necessary to win tackles against opposing forwards. Everyone who has played in the midfield has had at least one outstanding performance this season. Our most consistent contributors there have been Zach Knight, Colston Roades, and Blake Hurt. Their effort and skill drives everything we do from an attacking standpoint. They are also very important to our defensive structure since they need to close off the middle of the field and route opposing attacks to the wings. Out wide, Austin Schweitzer and Austin Coffey have used their skill and pace to torment opposing defenses. They allow us to play two different ways depending on how the game is unfolding. We can use their pace to counter attack, or their skill to help link with the midfield and defenders to build attacks from the back. Lastly, Chase Easterling has done a tremendous job as our lone forward. He is a tireless worker who constantly puts the opposing defenders under pressure which leads to many mistakes that we can capitalize on.”
Despite the Broncos’ excellent start, Kuntz said there is still room for improvement.
“We definitely still have room to improve,” said Kuntz. “One of those areas is consistently being first to 50-50 balls. At times, we do a great job of winning the initial 50-50 ball or the second one. However, we sometimes have spurts where we get caught standing flat-footed or thinking our teammate is going to take action. Another area that could be improved is maintaining our possession advantage for longer periods of time. There are moments in some games where we tend to play too direct in the middle of the field. Continuing to play simple until we shift into the attacking third of the field nearly always allows us to have more chances on goal.”
The Broncos are back in action Thursday, Sept. 15, as they venture to Hillsboro for a non-league contest.