DANVILLE — Don’t read anything into the result between the Danville and Speedway boys’ soccer teams match up as a deeper story betrayed the scoreboard.
In anticipation of a match against first-place Frankfort on Thursday, Danville coach Drew Brokamp rested all 11 starters in Wednesday’s match with the Sparkplugs. Against a senior-laden Speedway side, the Sparkplugs defeated Danville.
Brokamp said his players wanted to play against Speedway, and that’s a mark of a good player, but the players understood the stakes.The Speedway game has always been in between the matches against Lebanon and Frankfort.
“(Those are) two huge conference games at the end of the season,” Brokamp said.
Danville has not won the Sagamore Conference title since 2003.
Frankfort entered Thursday’s game atop the conference with a 5-0-0 record. For Danville to have any chance to win its first conference championship in a decade, they had to beat the Hot Dogs.
Pertinent to the rivalry, Tri-West sits in the catbird’s seat — and second in the conference — due in part to a 1-0 win against the Warriors in Lizton on Sept. 5. In conference play, Tri-West is 4-1 and plays Frankfort on Saturday.
Two Danville freshmen — midfielder Bryce Hughson and defender Steven Guipe — made their first career starts.
Sophomore goalkeeper Noah Farnsley started in senior goalkeeper Zach Blankenship’s stead.
In the first half, Speedway outshot Danville 20-1. The Warriors’ attempt came in the 26th minute. From the right side, Warriors’ senior midfielder Landon Dowell crossed the ball into the box. Speedway junior Drew Jones headed the ball into the air, and Guipe’s subsequent volley sailed over the goal.
Down 4-0 at half, Brokamp said he told his team they just needed to dig in.
“I just need to see some good character out there, that they weren’t gonna give up,” he said. “That was excellent to see.”
With about two-and-a-half minutes remaining, Dowell scored.
“It’s good character to keep fighting,” Brokamp said. “Moving forward and getting that goal was important for our guys.”
Farnsley, who recorded nine saves, including eight in the first half, described the goal as “uplifting.”
“(I’m) relieved that they didn’t get a shutout on us,” he said. “I want to get ‘em next year. I’m going to try harder, train harder. [Blankenship’s] leaving, so I’m right there.”
Brokamp said it was good to get a look at some of the junior varsity players. With 11 seniors — seven starters — on the varsity team, the Warriors will have some turnover to endure.
“A lot of JV guys will be playing on varsity next year, so they got a taste of what it’s going to be like,” Brokamp said. “That was good for them as well. (We) didn’t want it to be 9-1, but they were a good team, played their starters for most of the game.”