Bobcats turn up for Lakeland opener with tough match with Bulldogs

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, August 29, 2023

VICKSBURG — The Brandywine boys’ soccer team got a little more than it bargained for in Monday’s 9-1 loss at Vicksburg.

Vicksburg, now 1-4-1 came into the match looking for its first win of the season and used its physicality to attain that goal.

Despite the loss, Niles Brandywine head coach Caleb Adams stated afterwards that the non-conference defeat to the Bulldogs served as a good tuneup for Wednesday’s Lakeland Conference opener against Berrien Springs.

“Every time that we come up to the Kalamazoo area we play teams that are much more physical than us. Because of that, we tend to be more timid at the start of the match. Once we learn how the match is officiated and how physical we can be, then we started to get more into the space and defended much better,” Adams said.

Vicksburg built a 6-0 advantage after the opening 40 minutes.

The Bulldogs got a first-half hat trick performance from star senior midfielder Landen Johnson. Also adding a pair of goals during the opening half for Vicksburg was senior midfielder Luke Malocha, one of those goals by Malocha was unassisted. Senior forward Avery Snook also got into the scoring act for Vicksburg before halftime.

Sophomore Malachi McClelland was credited with an assist on Malocha’s second-goal for Vicksburg just before intermission.

“Our passing improved in the second half. My guys have been working a lot of getting the ball to the outside corners. Instead of panicking, we were making it more of a possession game,” Adams said.

Snook recorded his second goal of the night on a shot into the right corner of the Bobcats’ net at 31:04 of the second half to make it 7-0.

Emmanuel Mendoza scored Brandywine’s lone goal at 29:15 off a great assist from senior center defender Hunter Inman.

“Hunter brought the ball up and waited for their defensive line to hesitate and passed a free ball into our striker. He set that up very well for us,” Adams said.

Johnson scored the final pair of goals for Vicksburg at 10:55 and at 8:05. The second goal ended the match on the mercy rule. He finished with five goals in the contest.

Brandywine, now 2-3, was outshot 25-10. One of Vicksburg’s goals came off a corner kick from Daymon Witters. The Bulldogs, who had 10 corner kicks to just two for the Bobcats, scored two of their goals off direct kicks.

Brandywine goalkeepers Brady Wright and Aiden Scoggin recorded a combined nine saves.

Vicksburg netminder William Hull finished with seven saves.

Adams continues to see a lot of positivity out of his team as the Bobcats start the league season.

“We always try to keep our positivity and effort up. I really liked how we kept playing even though we were down this whole match. That shows that these guys never give up,” Adams said. “Defensively we’re improving every match with a lot of freshmen in those spots. I think we played well as a unit tonight.”

While pleased with the victory, Vicksburg head coach Lahou Boulnemour stated that his ballclub, which finished second in the Wolverine Conference last fall, must work harder.

“Brandywine has a couple of really good players who are a threat to opposing teams. Our team is led by our six seniors and a couple of sophomores. Other than those kids, we have a pretty young team,” Boulnemour said. “We have to keep working on the technical aspects of the game.”