Despite gaining a 2-nil victory over their opponents, the Mustangs looked to have regressed since playing a spirited game of soccer Thursday against county rival Bradley Central.
“We need someone to step up. We don’t have any fire out there. Guys are standing around. We need a leader out there ... we need a couple leaders out on the field to make us the team we are capable of being,” expressed Walker Valley head coach Tom Bayliss.
In previous matches the squad has shown flashes of speed and technical skill, but neither were on display against Marion as the Mustangs appeared to be playing to their competition.
Both halves of play were littered with a multitude of missed passes, turnovers, fouls and half-hearted shot attempts by both clubs.
For their part, the Mustangs continuously pushed the ball down the pitch against the Warrior’s defense, but time after time a positive drive would end in a dribbling shot or a turnover.
According to Bayliss, the team is still searching for an individual(s) who will step up and demonstrate the killer instinct and drive to push Walker Valley to the next level.
Miscues not withstanding, the Mustangs did what needed to be done to come away with a win.
A pair of offensive drives did manage to come away with goals, and the defense kept Marion to very few shot attempts to preserve the shutout.
In the 12th minute of the first half Vince Rollins found Kevin Calderilla who opened the defense and pushed a shot through to the Warriors’ net to put Walker Valley up by a goal.
During the 43rd minute, shortly after play began the second half, Rollins did it himself when he broke free at the top of the box and laced a shot that careened off the far goal post and rebounded back into the net to put the Mustangs up 2-nil.
The big test for Walker Valley will come Tuesday night as they travel to Rhea County for a District 5-AAA matchup against the Golden Eagles.
A loss to Rhea could potentially relegate the Mustangs to the bottom of the district for a second straight year, while a win would provide a very important first district win of the year and possibly save them from repeating last year’s finish.
Both clubs take the pitch at Rhea at 7 Tuesday.