At halftime Wednesday, Polk County boys soccer coach Josh Trejo asked his Wolverines for more aggressiveness, more push and drive.
A second-half play showed how well the Wolverines heeded that message.
With Polk already having pulled ahead to a 4-1 advantage, Wolverine defender Clark Phipps stopped a McDowell surge, dribbling away from an attacker after winning possession and curling a long pass down the Polk sideline and ahead of teammate Grayson Jones.
Jones won a sprint for the free ball, pushing it ahead of a Titan defender and deep into McDowell territory. He almost reached the end line before sending a perfect cross to Sean Hudson, who quickly buried the pass in the back of the net.
It proved just one goal of many in the Wolverines’ 7-2 victory at G.M. Tennant Stadium, but it illustrated exactly what Trejo wants to see from his squad.
“In the second half, I told them to beat the other team to the ball, that we had to be more aggressive,” Trejo said. “That was a lot better second half. I really enjoyed it. I was proud of the way we moved the ball, of our intensity and our fight.”
Matias Akers scored two goals, one of six Wolverines to score, with Jones finishing with a goal and two assists as the Wolverines improved to 3-4 with their second win of the week. Polk County travels Thursday to T.C. Roberson looking to make it three straight.
Goalkeeper Jonah Wyatt finished with nine saves and an appreciation for the effort he saw from his viewpoint in goal.
“We played with so much more composure today compared to other games,” Wyatt said. “We worked hard and played with so much heart. We worked together more as a team and believed in each other. We’re taking more risks and it’s starting to pay off.”
“We’re playing more composed and more aggresively, and we’re getting a lot better,” Jones said. “We’ve been working on our touches at practice and it paid off.”
Isaac Edwards, Jesus Avellaneda and Alex Pearson joined Akers, Hudson and Jones with goals, with Pearson and Edwards also each recording an assist for the Wolverines.
“In past games when we’ve gotten scored on for the first time, we’ve shut down,” Pearson said. “This game we got started to fight back. I believe we’re tired of losing.
“This shows that a little bit of hard work goes a long way.”