by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKE FOREST — Heritage High School’s soccer team got all the offense it would need against Sanderson.
After the top teams in the Cap 8 Conference generated numerous scoring chances all throughout Monday’s battle, it would ultimately come down to the final eight minutes of play.
Following a Husky corner, there was a collection of headers, kicks and stops in front of the Spartans net.
Sophomore forward Logan Shytle was the one to drive it home. His 14th goal of the season broke a scoreless game at the 7:55 mark in the second half to lift the Huskies to a 1-0 victory over the Spartans and got them their fifth consecutive win this season.
“The boys worked extremely hard and we beat a really good Sanderson team,” said Husky coach Scott Sloan. “I would have paid to watch this match; it was that good.”
The win puts Heritage, 13-4 overall and 7-2, in the league into a tie with Sanderson, 11-5, 7-2, in the conference standings.
And even though the Huskies never found the back of the net again afterward, they stayed on the defensive for the remainder of the match to keep
Sanderson too preoccupied to mount a serious comeback and cashed in for their sixth shutout of 2013.
“We played a complete game and it was our best effort this season,” Sloan said. “I feel like we’re one of the best teams in the state.”
Sloan also pointed to Heritage’s student body section, the Hooligans and said they made a big difference in the game too.
“They are great and we feed off of their energy,” Sloan said.
The Huskies put offensive pressure on the Spartans from the beginning and often made their visitors drop back and go 80 yards instead of forty.
“We out chanced Sanderson and deserved to win,” Sloan said.
Both teams did a good job of playing keep away and both formed offense sequences from left to right that turned the game into advantageous and astute game plans.
Heritage and Sanderson each created chances offensively and both defenses proved it was able to answer the call.
Even when the Spartans got a clear cut opportunity in front of goal, they neither put it on frame nor gave Huskies goalkeeper Calvin Hamblet much trouble at all. He denied the Spartans on several occasions throughout the match.
“Calvin is the most consistent goalkeeper in our conference,” Sloan said. “He is a solid player.”
Within the first few minutes of play, the teams exchanged shots.
The Spartans had an opportunity at the 35:05 mark, however Hamblet saw different when he caught the ball.
Kyler Novaria saw his shot caught by Sanderson’s keeper and moments later, Kidd Bottomley shook off a couple of Sanderson defenders but his opportunity just missed.
The Spartans attack pushed for the first goal but could not capitalize when they missed out on two chances at the 18:30 mark in the first half.
One attempt was headed back away from the net while the second one steered directly to Hamblet.
There was an exchange of free kicks before another shot by Bottomley sailed over the post.
“This was a match between two evenly matched teams,” Sloan said, “and whoever scored would probably win.”
Play in the second half continued as both teams seemed to become more aggressive as the match progressed. So aggressive that four yellow cards were handed out to two players each from both Heritage and Sanderson.
The Huskies came out on a mission and attempted three quick shots. Shytle snarled a high shot at the start of the quarter that hit the side of the post.
Five minutes later, Sanderson’s free kick bounced off the top of the crossbar.
There were shots from both teams that came from long range and ones that just missed the target.
Much of the time, the game turned into a midfield duel. Heritage’s defense, though, continued to stay organized and was effective keeping everything in front of them.
“We wanted to win this game so bad,” said Heritage defender Matt Sattler, a senior.
“We knew we could score and it was our best game thus far,” Sattler added.
Sloan said this win gives his team confidence and he feels optimistic about the Huskies last few games and post season play.
“We’ve definitely built our confidence up,” he said. “Hopefully this momentum will carry over to our remaining games and into tournament play.”
Sattler agreed and added that his team wants a championship banner. “We see the golf team’s conference championship banner hanging at school and it would sure be great to have our banner hanging too.”
Heritage’s next game is Monday at 6:30 against cross town rival Wake Forest.