Thomas Dale’s boys soccer has found success in recent years. This year hasn’t been any different. Ranked third in the nation by ESPN’s Powerade Fab 50, the Knights tore through the regular season with an undefeated record. However, they came up short in the Central Region final against Cosby on Saturday, losing 1-0.
There are a lot of clichés in sports and this game can be summed up by saying, “The scoreboard doesn’t tell the full story.” For the first 25 minutes of the first half, it was all Thomas Dale. The Knights consistently drove down the field, making crisp, well placed passes and shots. They were constantly on the attack and forced Cosby to play defense more than they wanted. It was very physical with the referee warning players on both sides. Eventually, Alex Cohan for Cosby picked up a yellow in the 27th minute.
Having several shots on goal, momentum suddenly swung back to the Titans near half time. Cosby midfielder Andrew Michon played a big role getting them back on track late in the first half.
Mark Fowler, Thomas Dale’s head coach, told his team at half time that he wanted them to take more shots which might bring Cosby out and create more space.
The second half started out much like the first, both teams were hungry but the Knights played like they wanted it more. The physical play continued, as well. Cosby players picked up two more yellow cards.
The Knight’s offense was led by senior Dan Laurentano. Taking their coach’s advice, the Knights took more shots but they still couldn’t put any in the net.
Yet, Cosby refused to succumb to Dale’s pressure. Cosby keeper Colby Dechiara had three saves. In the 71st minute the their defense cleared the ball and kicked it deep into Knight territory. Knights keeper Tony Groben came out to meet the ball as Cosby junior Alex Cohan gave chase. Groben slipped as he neared the ball giving Cohan a shot into the empty net.
Cosby capitalized and took a 1-0 lead.
That was all that Cosby needed to win and secure home field advantage in the state tournament.
After the game Fowler congratulated Cosby’s effort.
“I want to praise Cosby, they hung in there,” he said. “We had the ball more in their territory but it doesn’t mean anything unless you put the ball in the back of the net.”
Thomas Dale will travel to and play James Robinson High School in the state quarterfinals on Tuesday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. Should they advance, they will face either First Colonial or Colonial Forge on Friday, June 8 at 4 p.m. The state final will be held Saturday, June 9, at 1 p.m. at Westfield High School in Chantilly, VA.