WCHS Warrior soccer beats district rival Upperman


The Warrior soccer team captured their first district win of the season by defeating rival Upperman 5-3 last week, in Baxter. The win gives the Warriors their first district win in nearly four seasons.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” second-year head coach Drew Haston said. “They could have folded, but they didn’t, and they earned the result.”

Upperman opened up the scoring in the first half. After two great saves from goalkeeper Adam Hitchcock, the Warrior backline failed to get the ball out of the box, and Upperman took advantage of it.

The Warriors would capture their equalizer soon after that as Christian Henderson pushed his first of three goals on the night past the Upperman goalkeeper.

Later in the first half, Upperman’s Sebastian Stanfill stepped up to the spot to take a penalty, which was blocked by Hitchcock. However, Stanfill slotted the rebound into the net, giving the lead back to the Bees.

The lead wouldn’t last long though, as Layne Brown found Evan Ferris on an indirect free-kick near midfield. The resilient Warriors were level once again, 2-2. The goal opened Ferris’s account with the Warriors, his first of the season.

Then right before halftime, Christian Henderson scored his second goal of the night, giving the Warriors a 3-2 lead.

Senior captain Bryce Gomez commented, “The game was far from over. We have been in that situation before, and it has not gone our way. I just wanted us to come out strong, continue to commit to our playing style, and not let them get in our head.”

Gomez added, “I knew if we stuck with our plan, we could win. That’s what happened.”

Temporary disaster struck WCHS in the beginning of the second half after an own-goal gave Upperman the equalizer. Hitchcock made another great save off of an Upperman shot, but as the ball was being cleared, it went into the Warriors’ net.

However, soon after, the Warriors broke free again as Mason Kimmins found Henderson for the Warriors fourth goal of the night, completing his hat-trick. The goal gives Henderson five on the season. 

White County led 4-3 up until the final ten minutes, when Otto Sergio found the back of the net giving the Warriors a 5-3 lead and sealing the match’s fate.

The goal is Sergio’s second this year.

“It was a massive win,” Haston said. “The feeling from the team is like we have finally gotten the millstone off of our necks.”

Haston continued, “We have been incredibly unlucky this season. We have had a lot of injuries this season, and we have really only played with a full side twice.”

The Warriors entered the match with Senior midfielder William Perez having missed the last five matches, including this Upperman match, with bone bruising around the knee. Also, Junior Braedon Bechtel was on limited duty and ultimately didn’t play because of his injury.

“We’ve had a slow start to the season and had many injuries,” assistant coach Ronald Mezime commented. “With this win, we have an opportunity to change our season around.”

Haston added, “We’ve been trying to play a new brand of football. Instead of kick-and-chase, we have been trying to teach the boys actual football plays and movements. All credit to them, this win is theirs. They have bought in, had a tremendous amount of adversity this year, but never stopped attempting to play and compete.”

The win gives White County seven goals in their last two matches.

“Our freshmen players played very well,” Mezime said. “Our veteran players stayed focused, which pushed our team. The first time we played them, both teams played well, but we missed out on many opportunities. Tonight, we made sure to capitalize on the opportunities.”

Haston finished with, “This match was intense. This match was physical. It was what a true high school rivalry, district match should feel like. I feel like maybe last year, our guys would not have been ready to meet the challenge, but these guys stepped up tonight and met their challenge.”     


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