The Olds High School Spartans boys soccer team was in tough against the Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School Raiders on May 9, losing 5-2 on the Spartans' field.
The loss leaves the Spartans without a win in three contests thus far in the 2013 Central Alberta High School Soccer League season.
The Spartans fell behind early in the first half before tying the game at 1-1. Thurber then took a 2-1 lead before the game's mid-point when pressure in the goaltender's box late in the first half paid off with a goal. Thurber then increased their lead early in the second half. A goal by the Spartans made the game 3-2, before the Raiders scored on a penalty kick midway through the second half. Thurber put the game on ice with a goal just before the final whistle.
Spartans' coach Mark Oxer said he thought the game was a lot closer than the score indicated. The Spartans appeared to score a goal in the first half that the referee called back, as it hit off the crossbar and then was put in on the rebound.
“The second half, towards the beginning of the half, the guys were definitely working hard and pushing for it. We just have to work on being more aggressive on the ball,” he said.
Oxer said the road to the playoffs this season will be tough, as the team must finish in the top four of seven teams in order to make the post-season. Without a win thus far, the loss against Thurber “was one of the games we were looking to win, because we got a couple tough ones coming up.”
“It's a rough start to the season, especially with these guys. We've got talented players, granted … we've got a couple of Grade 9 players and we were missing a couple of key players that have performed for us in the past,” Oxer said.
The majority of the team this year has played for the Spartans in the past.
“Because it's such a short season and we can't get out to do a lot of training beforehand and the kids are playing other sports, it just makes it difficult to get everything kind of going,” he said.
The next home game for the Spartans is May 29 against the Innisfail Junior-Senior High School Cyclones.