VIRGINIA BEACH – The Ocean Lakes boys soccer team felt its time was coming after a frustrating 60 minutes Friday night at Princess Anne.
Ocean Lakes had dominated ball possession, applied constant pressure at the net and fired 16 shots that failed to break a scoreless tie.
“You could see it coming,” Dolphins coach Don Hart said of his team’s offensive pressure. “Eventually they were going to have a breakdown and we were going to get in there.”
Dolphins midfielder Justin McPherson finally broke through.
In the 61st minute, the senior collected the ball on the right side of the field and rifled a shot 20 yards out to the left post past goalkeeper Chase Battafarano for the first score in what would be a 2-0 Ocean Lakes victory.
“He was determined,” Hart said of McPherson. “He had that tenacity and wanted to get it in there. They made a couple of mistakes and we got it figured out. I knew eventually he’d put one in.”
McPherson scored again in the 78th minute, tapping in a rebound from point-blank range past Battafarano.
Ocean Lakes’ (6-0) total shots (20) and corners (10) showed how its offense dictated the pace of the match and controlled the ball. Senior defender Kyle Schafer’s throw-ins from various parts of the field — “like corners from midfield,” Hart calls them — also yielded scoring chances near the box.
The Cavaliers defense was solid but eventually folded under relentless pressure at the net by the Dolphins’ attack.
Ocean Lakes’ midfielders forced the ball into Princess Anne’s zone, and the Dolphins’ back line defenders didn’t allow the Cavaliers many easy opportunities when play did enter the other half of the field.
Princess Anne’s (1-3) attack struggled to find space and create good looks at the net. It generated just four shots and two corners.
“We possessed tremendously in the center of the field and our defense was pretty darn solid,” Hart said. “I knew we were ready for this one.”
Battafarano finished with eight saves. Two were highlight-reel stops in the first half that kept the Cavaliers steady under a constant Dolphins attack that nearly broke the game open early.
Ocean Lakes goalkeeper Colton Demetriou stopped all three shots he faced. He anchored a defense that has shutout its last five opponents.
“To come here and play as well as we did, we’re making some headway here,” Hart said. “After losing 12 seniors from last year, we’re still growing.”
Ocean Lakes looks to stretch its undefeated start to the season Friday at Kempsville. Princess Anne takes a crack at undefeated First Colonial on Tuesday.