If inconsistency comes from being an inexperienced team, the Covington soccer team proved its youth last week as the squad went 2-1, playing well on Tuesday and Saturday but not so on Thursday.
The Trojans opened the week by travelling to West Vigo and jumping out to a 3-0 lead on the way to a 4-1 victory.
Logan Pinkerton put Covington on the scoreboard in the eighth minute off a pass from Tanner Dreher and a minute later the scorer turned into an assister as he fed Savion Waddell to make it 2-0.
Right before halftime, Dreher picked up another assist as he connected with Waddell for a 3-0 lead, a score line that lasted for almost 20 minutes before the host Vikings found the back of the net to cut the margin to two at 3-1.
Midway through the second period, Rico Mandolini hit Pinkerton for an assist as the junior forward scored to make the final 4-1.
Ryan Sowers, the Covington head coach, called the victory “a good win for our team” but also noted that, “we’re still finding numerous things we need to continue to work on.”
In a bit of foresight, he pointed out that his squad lost intensity and passion after the 2-0 lead, saying, “We need to learn how to stay upbeat on the field.”
In the next contest at Danville, Illinois, that lack of intensity and passion cost the Trojans dearly.
Covington scored in the seventh minute on a pass from Pinkerton to Waddell for a 1-0 lead, but after that point in the game, it was all Danville Vikings.
The hosts, playing in their first game of the season as opposed to the fourth for the Trojans, responded with a goal to tie the game in the 19th minute, which seemed to fire up them up and they added two more goals before halftime to lead 3-1.
“I tried everything I could think of to get us going out there, but it didn’t happen,” Sowers said about his coaching throughout the game. “We didn’t show any heart or intensity. It’s frustrating.”
His half time talk seemed to spark the team, but only momentarily, as they came out and got a quick shot a goal, but then they went right back to trading possessions with Danville with only the occasional breakaway chance that led to nothing.
Meanwhile, the Vikings kept probing and eventually hit a ball off the goal frame that they followed up for a score that made it 4-1.
Perhaps most disappointing for Sowers was the goal with two minutes left that made it a 5-1 final score.
“We’re 2-2 and we can either learn from this and get better or pull into a shell and die,” he said. “It’s up to the players and especially our upperclassmen, to get things moving in the right direction or it’s going to be long year.”
Sowers preached that idea after the game and again in practice on Friday with his team saying they needed to buy into the “heart and effort” message and with a chance to prove it on Saturday against Southmont.
The contest with the Mounties was night-and-day different from the one against Danville as the Trojans came out attacking from the starting whistle.
Covington scored on a breakaway by Pinkerton in the ninth minute and then, a minute later, Dreher kicked a set piece ball that Waddell headed in for a 2-0 lead.
Ten minutes later, Rico Mandolini found Waddell that made it 3-0 going into the intermission.
When the second half started, the Trojans picked up where they left off as both Waddell and Pinkerton converted goals for hat tricks and a 6-0 lead.
With just eight minutes left in the game, Bradley Lewsader crossed the ball into the box where Mandolini was waiting to make the final score 7-0.
“What a difference a bit of heart will make,” Sower exclaimed after his team moved to 3-2 on the season. “The team stayed composed while executing when they needed to. Hopefully, we’ll keep making positive changes [like these].”