By Micah McVicker Flyer correspondent
Hendricks County Flyer
---- — Ben Davis boys’ soccer coach Andrew Rolinson chose tough love after his team’s loss to Southport. In his postgame speech, Rolinson questioned his team’s effort, heart and priorities.
“As bad as we played, we still had an opportunity to win this game,” he told his team. “You need to dig deep.”
Offensively, Ben Davis and Southport each attempted 12 shots. The Giants created higher quality opportunities, but Southport converted its best chance as midfielder Bawi Phutin scored on a free kick and the Cardinals’ defense preserved a 1-0 win Saturday afternoon at Ben Davis.
Rolinson, in his address to the team, said the Giants committed stupid fouls in Southport’s final third. On a 50-50 ball, Ben Davis senior defender Julio Enriquez-Cortez did not give his opponent a clean plane in which to land, a mistake that proved costly.
Phutin’s shot eluded Ben Davis goalkeeper Jenson Kemple, who could not range sufficiently far enough to his right. Facing a deficit did not revive the Giants’ effort.
Senior defender Pablo “Danny” Alvarez said it was difficult to listen to Rolinson’s postgame message, but acknowledged he knew his coach has the team’s best interests in mind.
The message — and the game result — could’ve easily been very different. In the 59th minute, Giants midfielder Darrin Knorr worked a give-and-go in Southport’s final third with senior midfielder Christian Vera. Upon receiving the return pass, Knorr’s shot flew across the face of goal and caromed off the outside of the right post.
Three minutes later, Vera had a one-on-one opportunity against Southport senior goalkeeper Caleb Bernhard. Vera shot to Bernhard’s left, but the Cardinals’ goalkeeper made the save.
Alvarez said that was a huge play.
“For sure, we should’ve won that game,” he said.
Rolinson was most frustrated with his team’s lack of effort.
“We didn’t act like we wanted to play,” he said. “We did more ball-watching than playing soccer today. My guess is (it was) a late night for the boys last night and they came out real lethargic.”
Ben Davis and Southport will meet again at Ben Davis on September 30 in the Marion County Tournament. This game had little at stake, and Rolinson said the result was an anomaly.
“I don’t think today’s game represents what our program and our team’s really about,” Rolinson said. “Nobody likes to lose. In the grand scheme of things, this game didn’t really mean a whole lot to us.”
However, Rolinson made it abundantly clear that the negligible stakes don’t excuse the lack of effort.
Alvarez agreed with Rolinson’s assessment of how the team performed.
“We got to get our heart in the game, and our mindset better,” Alvarez said.