Seeley finds varsity soccer's first goal

SJO senior Zach Seeley
St. Joseph-Ogden senior Zach Seeley makes a pass during first half action against visiting University High on Thursday. The veteran soccer player scored the team's first goal of the season. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

To say the the St. Joseph-Ogden soccer team is off to a slow start would be quite the understatement.

Two hundred and 27 minutes into the season, roughly a little more than two and half games, senior Zack Seeley finally nailed the soccer team's first goal of the season. Unfortunately, the Spartans (0-2-1) needed another seven to beat visiting Urbana University on Thursday.

It wasn't an effortless performance by Illineks, who collected three goals in the first half and four in the second en route their 7-1 non-conference win. Despite the youth in their numbers this season, the Spartan defensive effort made their opponent work for every point they put on the board except for two successful penalty kicks.

"We have seven freshmen and four seniors. We still trying to find the right niche with who we can play where," said head coach Daniel Vogelsang. "We are still experimenting a bit and what better time to do that than early in the season."

Uni-High is a perennial postseason small school soccer program. Vogelsang's looked at the defeat as a valuable teaching moment.

"A lot of things went right even though we lost," he said. "One thing we are going to take away from this is a lot of ideas for training."

His plan includes ramping up the cardio.

"We know our touches weren't there. We were already wore out in the first half," he said as the junior varsity team battled on the new playing field behind him. He added: "It's early in the season and we are still trying to get all the nerves out."

Uni-High's Lucas Wood, who was one of five who scored on SJO, celebrated a hat trick after hitting a penalty in kick in both periods. His third and final goal came with just a little less than for minutes left in the game after the ball deflected off the hands of Spartan goal keep Mason Behrens.

Despite Behrens seven saves, four other Uni players contributed to their dominate offense effort against the Spartans.

"Taking a loss like this builds character," Vogelsang explained. "It is going to help us out later on when it matters in the postseason."

Tyler Sullivan works magic on the ball to keep it away from Uni-High
Spartan Tyler Sullivan shields the ball from a pair of University High players in the first half. The junior say 38 minutes of playing time in the non-conference match. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Seeley, who scored with 11 minutes and 16 seconds left in the game, took advantage of a late game substitution. When the Illinek keeper made a short pass to the newly entered teammate in front of the box, he sprung into action.

"He (the Uni defender) had a mis-touch on the ball so I stole it," Seeley said. "I saw the goal wide open and took the shot."

Seeley knows there is work to be done by the team before the postseason starts.

"We are really young. We are really stacked on juniors," he said. "We have a lot of you talent and have a bit of growing to do."

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