Bloom-Carroll’s McCoy Patino races toward the ball during the Bulldogs’ 2-0 loss to Big Walnut Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014, at Bloom-Carroll High School in Carroll.
CARROLL – As much as the Bloom-Carroll boys soccer team struggled Thursday against Big Walnut, the Bulldogs never were out of the game.
But at the same time, it seemed like they never were really in it either. The Eagles just seemed a step quicker and once they took the lead in the first half, Bloom-Carroll looked more out of sorts.
Visiting Big Walnut made two goals — the second coming with only 25 seconds left in the half — stand in a 2-0 nonleague win against the Bulldogs at Carl Fell Stadium.
Although Bloom-Carroll (0-1) played better in the second half and had two late scoring opportunities, it wasn’t enough to overcome the first-half deficit.
“We played harder in the second half, but the first half we didn’t play hard at all,” Bulldog coach Robb Ingram said. “We were just going through the motions. It just seemed like some of our guys quit in the first half. We give up a goal and then we go in a shell. Then we give up a second one right before halftime, and it was because someone just decided to jog back into place.
“It’s just effort, and that’s what made us look better in the second half, was effort.”
The Eagles seemed to beat the Bulldogs to every ball and also did a good job of keeping the ball away from Bloom-Carroll. Ingram wasn’t surprised by Big Walnut’s play.
“They are technically sound through and through,” Ingram said. “They are a very sound team and a lot of our miscues were because of them. They made us look bad at times.”
The Eagles were peppering Bulldog goalie Craig Casto in the first half. He was a bright spot, however. He made several saves in both the first and second half to keep Bloom-Carroll within striking distance.
“I thought our keeper played well and he actually played out of his mind at times: some good, some bad,” Ingram said. “Our back four also played well. We weren’t linking passes together up front and it was very frustrating.
“Maybe there were some nerves but the kids that we depend on the most, they played hard. But we need the rest of the guys to pick it up.”
Big Walnut scored with 9:40 left in the first half after doing a nice job of working the ball in front of the net, before getting a kick past a diving Casto.
The killer came when the Eagles scored with only 25 seconds left in the half. It came off of a corner kick.
After not getting any scoring chances most of the game, Bloom-Carroll had opportunities on a free kick and corner kick in the final four minutes but both missed there mark.
“Second half, we started creeping down little by little and then decided that we needed to score,” Ingram said. “That sense of urgency wasn’t there. Finally, it kicked in and we got a couple of good scoring chances at the end, but that’s what we want to see the whole game. We need to have 80 minutes of that kind of fight.”