SCA boys soccer wins state opener easily

ALBANY — Following a shutout win by the Sherwood girls soccer team in the first round of state on the same field Tuesday, the boys didn’t want to be outdone Wednesday.

The No. 2 seed Eagles dominated visiting No. 3 seed Monsignor Donovan from start to finish, cruising to a 7-1 victory.

The Eagles got things started almost instantaneously with reigning Herald Player of the Year T.J. Clay putting Sherwood on the board less than a minute into the game.

“I don’t know what to say,” Clay chuckled. “I just saw the ball and shot it. It was simple as that.”

And just like that, the pressure was off the Eagles.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better start. I told them we needed an early goal in the first five minutes,” head coach Jeremy Davidson said. “They went out and did it, and it set the tone for the rest of the game. It was exactly what we needed.”

The scoring didn’t stop for SCA. Nick Wendland scored with 24:34 left in the first half, then he added another goal in the second half.

“We got a couple of good crosses in,” Wendland said. “And since I was in the right place at the right time, I just put them in. It was a team effort.”

A freshman amongst a squad filled with senior leaders, Wendland is making the most of his opportunities at the most important time.

“Nick played most of the season as a center-back, and we’ve been working on transitioning him to the top, it’s showing that he has a nose for the goal,” Davidson said. “He loves going after it. He’s new up there, but he’s producing for us.”

One of the Eagles’ usual suspects, senior defender William Orr, also took advantage of the Rams’ shoddy defense, catching a pass in stride before striking the left corner of the net with 23:25 left in the first half. He would also put the exclamation point on the win, scoring his second goal with 59 seconds left in the game.

“We just saw some gaps in the defense,” Orr said. “And on the second one, I saw the ball bounce off the goalie’s gloves, so I just tapped it in.”

Davidson said Orr has been huge for the Eagles all season.

“William is one of our senior leaders, along with T.J. He’s doing what we expect of him,” Davidson said. “We finished things on a sour note in the regular season, and that motivated us. They’ve been training very hard, putting in a lot of good work in the last week or so and it showed (Wednesday). They came out here with a goal and an objective. I was proud of the effort they gave.”

Clay said the sky’s the limit from here.

“We gained confidence in this game,” Clay said. “So hopefully it’ll follow us into the playoffs. We have a big game Saturday, so if we stay focused during practice, keep up the hard work and show heart on the field, I have confidence that we can win it.”

Sherwood forward Coleman Bailey provided the other score for the Eagles, while Donovan’s Michael Woodson scored the only goal for the Rams.

The Eagles will next face the No. 1 seed Frederica on Saturday on the road.