ARCHBOLD – A direct free penalty kick (PK) in soccer, the type that allows only the goal keeper to defend the net against a kicker from just 18 yards away, generally only occurs once every few games. Twice in a game is unusual, and three times in the same contest is almost unheard of, especially when it’s the same team doing the kicking.
But that’s exactly what happened at Archbold’s Spengler Field on Saturday night as Archbold boys soccer was awarded three free kicks from inside the penalty box and cashed in on each one, powering the Blue Streaks to a 4-0 victory over Swanton in NWOAL play.
“It’s definitely unusual,” admitted Archbold coach Sean Stewart. “You take what you can get, I guess. When you have a night where you’re making chances but just not finishing, I guess PKs are kind of a blessing.”
While the easy scores were the biggest factor in the outcome they were, in part, created by a pressing Blue Streak offense that controlled play from early on in the contest. After missing several scoring opportunities, the Streaks broke through when Jeremy Lerma drove a shot past Bulldog keeper Tyler Prentice at the 31:38 mark of the first half for a 1-0 lead.
The Archbold offensive pressure remained relentless throughout the rest of the half, but, to Swanton’s credit, they were able to keep them off the scoreboard until a major penalty was called in the box giving the Streaks their first PK.
Coach Stewart chose Jared Kidder for the attempt and he fired a shot into the left side of the net to put Archbold ahead 2-0 with 2:42 left in the half. The teams went to halftime with that score and an 8-0 Streak advantage in shots on goal as well.
“I felt good with the way we controlled the game,” said Stewart. “And defensively we didn’t give them any clear chances.”
The Bulldogs regrouped and played a much better second half, especially on offense but were unable to get anything past Streak net minder Elijah Robison.
“There were some good things that we can build on, especially in the second half. We did a lot of things that we can do. We just have to do more of them,” commented Swanton coach Kris Krupitzer, drawing on the positives of the game. “Come tournament time and into the next season we have a lot of things to be excited about. We have a lot of things to be excited about in our last couple of games.”
Lerma and Keagen Ott added the last two penalty kick goals to reach the final score of 4-0.
The win runs Archbold’s record to 8-2 and 2-0 in the league, still in contention to win their first outright NWOAL title. Their next league game is Thursday in Wauseon at 5 p.m. Swanton finishes their league schedule with a respectable 2-2-1 record and will entertain Whitmer on Thursday with a 5 p.m. start time.
Bill O’Connell can be reached at [email protected]