JACKSON — Speed kills, and Alexander has a ton of it.
In a rematch from a Division II district semifinal from last season, the result remained the same as the Spartans overwhelmed Jackson by a 3-0 final on Thursday.
“In soccer terms, I thought we controlled the back two-thirds of the field and dominated the whole night,” Alexander coach Kirk Crow said. “Jackson is very disruptive in that final third, and that’s why they do very well, and have done so for a very long time. We weren’t as crisp in that area of the field and left some opportunities but we tighten that up to make plays in the second half.”
The Spartans’ ball possession was near flawless as they routinely had the ball at their feet and making passes in stride for the potential of scoring.
“We work on ball possession and even specificity about what foot its supposed to go to,” Crow said. “Our mentality is always that we’re attacking the ball and being aggressive with our passing. But we’re also a very deep team that can wear you down and put guys on an island, and our guys did a great job of spreading Jackson out and making them run.”
It started early as Joe Trogdon was on the receiving end of a pass and found the right bottom corner for a goal to put the Spartans ahead 1-0 less than two minutes into the game.
However, the rest of the half belonged to Jackson goalie Ty Broermann.
Understanding that his team wasn’t creating much offensively, he had to step it up a notch and be a wall to keep his team within striking distance.
As shot after shot was launched, the senior continued to pile up one save after another, totaling seven in the first half, including one on a penalty kick to keep the score 1-0 at halftime.
“That penalty save is huge. Ty is always special, but this game was truly something,” Jackson coach Lee Lord said. “He always a bright spot for us. I’d put him up against any goalie in Southeast Ohio, and he could start for a ton of teams, Alexander included who has a great goalkeeper themselves. Ty was awesome and saved us a handful of times.”
However, for a solid as Broermann was in the first half, Alexander found a way to sneak a couple more goals past him.
Elijah Robe received a through ball and sprinted into the box before striking with his right foot and connecting with the left corner side of the net for a 2-0 lead less than five minutes into the second half.
Broermann was able to come up with a couple more saves to keep Jackson’s hopes alive, but with 7:24 left, Kyler D’Augustino put the final nail in the coffin and connected on a goal to round out the game.
“We were coming off a hard fought game against Athens that didn’t go in our favor, and our guys were ready to bounce back from that,” Crow said. “Our defense was a little rocky against Athens so they wanted to prove something and did a great job of keeping the ball in front of them and not allowing Jackson to string passes together to make a possible run.”
In total, Alexander took 15 shot on goal attempts, compared to just one for the Ironmen, which came in the first half.
“We played hard, and even though we lost, I think this was the best we’ve played effort wise since maybe even opening night against Circleville,” Lord said. “But Alexander presents a lot of problems for us, mainly them having so much speed and being so aggressive. We couldn’t put passes together and they’re a team that is a problem for us because of how sound they are.
“Now we have a couple days off to get guys healthy and back into a rhythm. This was a good test, and now we know what we need to improve on moving forward.”
Jackson returns to action on Tuesday at home against Hillsboro in FAC action.