If patience is a virtue, the West Holmes Knights boys soccer team may be as virtuous as they come.
Led by a defense-first attitude that has become very patient and grown in leaps and bounds in understanding what it wants to accomplish, the Knights have continued their growth as a team, and the most recent product of their effort was an impressive 3-0 shut-out over Ohio Cardinal Conference Orrville, a team that the Knights have battled evenly the past couple of years, only to find themselves on the short end of the stick.
That wasn’t the case Saturday, Sept. 17, when the host Knights drilled the Red Riders and dominated throughout the contest.
“We’ve been right there against Orrville over the pasty couple of years, and it was finally nice to get past them,” said West Holmes coach Dave Zimmerly.
West Holmes’ offense wasted little time in finding the net and making it rough on the Red Riders, scoring three times in the first half.
Leonardo Calienno took a nice cross from Zach Buchanan and pounded it home for a score at the 16:43 mark in the first half.
Calienno would tack on a second goal, and then Buchanan, the Knights leading scorer, took a pass from Grant Miller and pumped home a shot into the back of the net with in the 33rd minute for the 3-0 lead.
While West Holmes would not score again, it wouldn’t have to as the Knights staunch defense pitched its fourth shutout of the season.
“I thought we got a little sloppy with the ball on offense in the second half,” said Zimmerly. ”It’s one of those things where we get a big lead and suddenly everyone wants to score. We got a little selfish and got away from the game that had made us successful to that point. However, our defense still played a strong game.”
Defense has been the name of the game for West Holmes recently, and other than the 5-0 loss to Wooster earlier this year, the defense has been coming up big, led by veteran keeper Drew Campbell.
However, Zimmerly said it isn’t one guy but an entire team concept that has helped this Knights defense understand and believe in what they are trying to accomplish.
“We’re playing well defensively as an 11-man unit,” said Zimmerly. “We have stayed disciplined and stuck to the philosophy of staying patient. Our anticipation has gotten so much better on the defensive end, and that has made a huge difference. It’s like night and day since the beginning of the year to where we are now. We haven’t quite got to that point yet on offense, but with our defense playing so well, I think we can be in every game.”
The Knights finished with an 22-7 edge in shots, including 8-4 in shots on goal, and goalkeeper Campbell recorded five saves in tossing the clean sheet, to help the Knights improve to 4-4-1 on the campaign.