The Franklin-Simpson Wildcats soccer team started their season on Monday with a 5-0 victory over the Christian County Colonels.
The team honored their five seniors including, Ben Campbell, Isaac Marshall, Landon McKenney, Nate Mitchell and Alan Olivo before their varsity match.
“Three of the seniors have been with us for four years with one here for three and the other for two. Big contributions from them and excited for them to win on Senior Night,” Wildcats head coach Justin Dyer said. “Last year, we were not as lucky to do that for our seniors. Tonight was big for them and for everyone as we have the opportunity to play during these circumstances.”
Before the match, the Wildcats paid homage to their fallen teammate Gustavo Ramirez. Ramirez died in a tragic construction site accident in July in Nashville, Tennessee. His jersey was placed on the field as part of the starting lineup. The opening kick was driven intentionally out of bounds as juniors Ben Banton and Logan Garner presented his jersey to the Ramirez family.
“We wanted to do something to honor him and we wanted to do something low key,” Dyer said. “With his jersey on the field with only 10 players, that was kind of our silent team tribute for him. Then getting to take his jersey to his mom and family I’m sure meant a lot to them and definitely meant a lot to me, the team and the fans. So glad we were able to do that for him and his family.”
After the opening match ceremonies, the Wildcats brought energy and intensity to the forefront as Olivo scored the first goal of the season in 1:12 for a 1-0 lead.
According to Wildcats head coach Justin Dyer, the moment marked the earliest goal that his team has scored in his tenure as head coach. He added that is a big boost for the team and the excitement of that goal brought the energy up for everyone.
“We came out with intensity and got a goal in the first couple of minutes,” Olivo said. “The fast start and with them behind early caused them to be hot headed. They were committing fouls and we were inside their heads. When you get to that point, game over.”
Later in the 1st Half, Campbell scored his first goal of the season at the 23:49 mark for Franklin-Simpson, making the score 2-0.
“I got a goal late in the first because of great teamwork and every goal scored tonight was because of that,” Campbell said. “I wanted to get every senior a goal. Landon (McKenney) got one in the second but we couldn’t get one for Isaac (Marshall) and Nate (Mitchell). It feels amazing to be out here with my teammates and I am so happy.”
In the 2nd Half, the Wildcats took advantage of scoring opportunities. McKenney scored at 4:46 with junior Logan Garner putting the ball into the net at 29:45 and junior Ben Banton finishing off the scoring spree with the final goal of the game at 35:05.
“We came out tonight with a really good tempo,” Banton said. “We fought hard, defense worked well and Connor (Vincent) was great in goal as they only had a few shots on goal. Great team win and great start to the season.”
Sophomore Connor Vincent was stellar in goal as he had seven saves as they picked up their first win of the season with a 5-0 victory over the Colonels.
“The guys have been chomping at the bit to get out here and play. We couldn’t scrimmage another team due to this pandemic but they were eager to get out here and play on this day since we were out for school in March,” Dyer said. “We got a shutout in our first match. Connor was one of the two goaltenders in the state last season along with our defense playing wel; as they applied a lot of pressure on Christian County as they attacked and put balls into the net.”
The Wildcats will host the Warren East Raiders at the F-S Soccer and Softball Complex on Monday night at 7 p.m. They also have two road matches with an important 13th District match at the Russellville Panthers on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. and in a 4th Region match at the Monroe County Falcons next Thursday night at 6 p.m.