Boys Soccer Team Focuses on Having Fun During First Round Playoff Win
Written by Athletic Facilities Manager and Coach Jarrett Van Meter
Play loose, have fun. This was the pregame mantra imparted upon the boys’ soccer team by Coaches Mettee and O’Brien before the team’s first round playoff game against Caldwell Academy. The free-and-easy mentality paid dividends, as the Blues thrashed the visiting Eagles, 5-1 to advance to the second round.
“We have made that message loud and clear for the last couple of weeks,” said O’Brien, referring to the level-headed mindset of his team. “We want them to play loose and free and enjoy themselves out on the field. When we get too hyped or over-emotional, we tighten up and do not play our best, so it is best to just enjoy every moment.”
Junior forward Declan Mettee got the evening started for the Blues, booting in the game’s first goal from the top of the penalty box to put Asheville School up 1-0 at the 33:23 mark. Defender Jake Bernstein knocked in the second goal, sliding in from the left post to finish off a cross from Raja Gopal.
“That was a special goal,” said Coach Mettee of Bernstein’s sliding goal. “He clearly saw something developing on the back post that we couldn’t see from the bench. It was awesome. It’s super fun to see a defender score because we work really hard at trying to encourage a style of play that uses outside backs in the attacking third. It’s what the pros do, so it’s nice when we can emulate that style of play.”
Andrew Han finished off the half, chipping in a goal of his own with only 28 seconds remaining in the half to give the Blues a 3-0 lead heading into the intermission.
The second half was quiet from a scoring perspective until the final 12 minutes, when Declan Mettee blasted the game open with two more goals in less than a minute to put the Blues up 5-0 and give the junior a hat trick for the game. Caldwell Academy avoided the shut out by scoring with 3:06 remaining, but it was too little, too late.
With the win, Asheville School advances to face #8 seed High Point Christian at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 17. The Blues will hit the road for second round playoff game, but Mettee and O’Brien are confident their group will be prepared.
“They have a couple of game-changing level players and will be very organized, but we should be ready for them,” said O’Brien.