Gators Prevail Over CWA in 5-1 Win


photo courtesy of Sebastian Bush

For the 2021 season, Annie Wright Schools unveiled new jerseys for the USB soccer team.

Sebastian Bush, Social & Multimedia Editor

At 6:00 PM on Tuesday, April 6th, Charles Wright Academy took the kickoff to start the first game of the season for both Annie Wright and CWA. 

With only six practices under their belt, Annie Wright School’s USB Soccer team was shaky at the beginning—nervous on their feet, but ready to pounce. However, fans did not need to wait more than ten minutes to witness the first goal of the night. Jacob Oie (USB ‘23) slotted one in the right corner off a penalty shot, the result of a risky challenge in the penalty box by a CWA defender.

Though first blood was drawn quickly, the rest of the first half was largely uneventful. The Gators fell into a steady—yet unproductive—rhythm of moving the ball across the field. A nice touch here, a solid pass there, but once they got in the box, the finishing movements left a lot to be desired. By the end of the 45th minute, the game remained 1-0, and with only one substitution, CWA seemed to lull on their feet, the first game of the season taking a toll on their physiques. 

At half-time, Coach Alex Megson stressed the importance of the final touch to the team, and noted that if they could make those chances, the Gators would have a much stronger chance of winning. This, coupled with a few substitutions at half, namely moving Eli Lupton (USB ‘21) to an attacking position, proved to be fruitful soon after. Within a few short minutes, Lupton fashioned a wonderful approach towards the goal and managed to score. But soon after, before the Gators could formulate another attack, CWA managed to take the ball and drive down the field. A nice cross and an unlucky bounce off goalkeeper Hyowon “Joey” Im’s (USB ‘21) chest resulted in a goal for the Away team. This unfortunate event diminished the gap to 2-1.

Within a minute however, AWS retaliated. The USB soccer team took the kickoff and passed to Lupton, now playing further up the field. Without second-guessing, Lupton took the shot from half-field, a perfectly lofted ball that sailed right over the goalkeeper’s fingertips, and into the top right corner. As stunned as the fans were, the players on both sides were more shocked. Just like that the game had turned, from an even match, to what would become a blow-out. 

In the next 30 minutes, the Gators scored another goal. Diego Chavez (USB ‘21) produced a sprint to the edge of the box, that paired with a few nice moves around defenders, resulted in a ball placed just in the side netting. 

With little time left in the game, Lupton made a heavy touch on the ball, pushing it far out ahead of him. He then continued to pursue it, as the goalie came out of goal to clear it. This rash decision resulted in a full collision, with the CWA goalkeeper taking the brunt of it. Though the keeper seemed to shake it off, he was taken out moments later, with his replacement being a CWA defender.

Though the game was nearly over, Lupton could not be reigned in. Eli scored one minutes before the end of the game, solidifying his hat trick, and pushing the result to 5-1. 

The Good:

Although Lupton seemed to stand out as the “Man of the Match”, other players performed very well. 

Defenders Nico Cefalu (USB ‘23) and Phillip Roppo (USB ‘22) both held up the strong central back positions, making clearance after clearance. One would be a fool to move them from these positions, as both excelled in the back.

Another breakout player was winger Tingjun “Adrian” Li, who shredded the CWA defense time after time, and always seemed to be in the right spot at the right time. Not only did he provide ample support at Right Wing, he also fell back to Right Back at moments, and seemed to do just as well. Li was one of the top players of the game, not because of a flashy goal or any particularly amazing plays, but because of the strong confidence he exuded on the right side of the pitch, and the constantly stellar dribbling and passing he produced. 

The Gators may have some areas to improve, but their strength is evident. After crushing a longtime rival in the first match, AWS seems to have a well rounded, and hopefully prolific, team on their hands. 

The Bad:

The team had some amazing passes and plays, but it most definitely lacked in the final third. And although the score was 5-1, everyone of those goals came from one person. At points in the attack, the Gators didn’t look like a team, but rather an amalgamation of a few key players who could score goals. It was disappointing. Multiple players had a few moments where if they had passed, the play could have resulted in a goal. Many times these players, and others, took one touch too many and cornered themselves into a group of CWA defenders. 

Other than their poor passing game however, the Gators provided a fun and captivating game to watch. If they can work on passing and finishing touches, the USB soccer team is looking at some easy matchups, and a strong season.