Coming into Tuesday’s season opener against host St. Georges, Appoquinimink spent its training time working on developing a strong counterattack.
That work paid off as the Jaguars produced three effective counters in a 4-0 victory over the Hawks in boys’ soccer action.
“What we’ve been trying all preseason to do is to play faster. Everything has been 1-2 touch. Everything has to be quick,” Appoquinimink coach Adam Bear said. “If you look at the goals, everything was 1-2 touch. We’ve tried to limit the dribbling, be quick as possible and spread the defense.”
After an even start in which neither team could capitalize on good scoring chances, the Jaguars (1-0) got possession of the ball on their side of the field in the 18th minute.
After a successful series of passes, Yusef Basma got the ball, ran toward the goal and kicked it past the Hawks goalkeeper to give Appoquinimink the lead. After the goal, the Jaguars started to possess the ball more in St. Georges’ side of the field, but they could not increase its lead before halftime.
Ranked No. 5 in Division I, Appoquinimink’s ball dominance continued into the second half, as they were able to effectively pass the ball around. Eventually, the Jaguars earned a corner kick in the 52nd minute.
After the ball was sent into the penalty area off the corner and kicked around for while, it found the foot of Jackson Wines, who kicked into the net to give Appoquinimink a 2-0 lead.
“It came from the corner, and I happened to be right there at the top and I played it to the right corner,” Wines said. “I saw the back of the net, and I was in the right place, right time.”
Wines added his second goal with an assist from Jaylen Dunham nine minutes later on another counterattack, leading to a breakaway, and Dunham scored in the 79th minute to make it 4-0 when the Jaguars executed another counter.
Even when St. Georges (1-1, ranked No. 2 in Division II) gained possession of the ball in the second half, Appoquinimink aggressively attacked the Hawks’ ball-handlers, often with success.
“We always try, as soon as we lose possession, the quickest, best way to get to possession is to try to get it immediately and don’t let them knock it around three, four, five, six times,” Bear said.