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Anthony Wayne Boys Soccer Team Finishes Strong In 4-1 Win Over Hudson

AW senior Austin Sisler boots the ball up the field in a game against Hudson on Saturday. The Generals scored three times in the second half to take a 4-1 victory over the Explorers in the season opener. MIRROR PHOTO BY ART WEBER

BY JOEL SENSENIG | MIRROR SPORTS — The Anthony Wayne boys soccer team showed flashes of its potential as it opened the season with a 4-1 win over visiting Hudson last Saturday. Senior forward Caleb Gibbons – back playing for the Generals for the first time since his freshman year – scored two goals in the closing minutes to seal the game for AW, seeking its sixth straight district title later this fall. Sophomore forward Zach Mowka and senior John Grant also scored for Anthony Wayne, which had an 11-5 advantage in shots for the game. Seniors Bryce Ulrich and Tanner Hertzfeld picked up assists in the contest. AW coach Brian Billings said he was pleased with the second half, even if the team was a bit sloppy and not opportunistic enough in the first half. “It was about what we expected,” he said. “Our struggle lately has been finishing off chances, so we have some good passes to play and some good possession in territory – it’s just putting the ball in the net. “I thought for a good 50-60 minutes we struggled with that. Mowka had a nice goal, but we had a lot of the ball in a lot of good areas and we just couldn’t get the ball in.” The teams split possession in the first 10 minutes of play, with neither team taking a shot. With 29:00 left on the clock, a free kick by AW senior back Max Rivera led to a flurry of activity in front of the Explorers net, but the Generals were unable to take advantage. Hudson didn’t take its first shot until the 22:30 mark. Senior AW goalkeeper Chris Huffman recorded two saves in his half of action. Mowka finally broke the scoreless tie when he got open in the box and easily put the ball past senior goalie Conner Gynn for the 1-0 Generals lead. AW’s defense, led by the likes of Rivera, seniors Josh Boyer, Ben Trenka and Austin Sisler as well as junior Matt Smigelski, did not allow the Explorers to get into any sort of offensive flow, limiting them to just a couple of shots in the opening 40 minutes. The Generals almost struck again in the early going of the second half when Mowka took one of his three shots, but the ball went wide left of the post. Although AW maintained possession for the middle portion of the half, Hudson senior midfielder Sebastian Kreiss tied things up when he snuck one past junior goalkeeper Nick Smith, who relieved Huffman in the second half. “We gave away a silly foul and didn’t defend it well,” Billings said of the goal. “I thought in the second half, we were really good. Really forced the game and put them back, and to give up that kind of look is poor.” Ninety seconds later, though, Grant put the Generals back on top for good when he scored on a pass from Hertzfeld to make it a 2-1 contest. “I’m happy with our response, good character response, that we got right back on it,” Billings said of the Grant goal. With just over 3:00 to play, Ulrich found Gibbons for an insurance goal, giving the home team a more comfortable 3-1 lead. Gibbons – who scored 31 goals last season at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. – then made things even more comfortable by getting past Gynn for the fourth and final goal of the game. “We had a couple effort plays with Tanner getting around and Johnny diving in there and then Caleb with a couple nice finishes to wrap things up,” Billings said. “It was a good first game.” Smith finished with three saves in the second half. The Generals played rival St. John’s on Tuesday and will host Copley at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 26. Junior Varsity Freshman Luke Trost scored four goals in a 5-0 junior varsity white win over Hudson on Saturday. Classmate Andrew Kellett scored the other goal for the Generals. The JV blue team was also victorious over Hudson, as sophomores Griffin Cook and Mateo Morante netted balls for the Generals in a 2-1 contest.

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