“We’ve got to grow up and just show up and put our best foot forward,” head coach Tom Bayliss explained. “I think this is going to be a learning season for us. We’re a team under construction right now.”
The Mustangs participated in the Cleveland Classic the last two days, and with their first two games have yet to see a victory. The Mustangs also played Hendersonville Beech after press time Saturday evening, with full coverage planned for Monday’s edition.
On Friday evening, Walker Valley suffered a 5-1 loss to Blackman and a Saturday afternoon loss to Knox West 4-0.
“This is a tough tournament for us to start with, but I think it’s great experience. By the end of the season we’ll be a different team,” Bayliss said.
The Mustangs got on the board first Friday evening thanks to a goal by Vince Rollins, coming 31 minutes into the game. The assist on the goal came from Blayne Carroll.
Walker Valley was able to hold Blackman scoreless in the first half, but the second half led to their demise.
While the Mustangs seemed to be waning, the Blaze were surging, scoring five goals in the last 40 minutes of play.
“We’re a really young team. We had five freshman on the field pretty much the whole game,” Bayliss commented. “We ran out of steam (in the second half) and, as we were doing that, our opposition was kind of gaining on us.”
Blackman’s first goal came 46 minutes into the game with their second quickly following two minutes later.
Walker Valley’s attempts to tie up the game proved unfruitful, as the Blaze snagged another goal in the 63rd minute.
Blackman’s final two goals were registered two minutes apart in the last 15 minutes of play.
“We’ve got to pick out the things we did well, acknowledge them and keep doing those. The things that hurt us, we’ve go to take a look at and work on the rest of the season,” Bayliss stated after the game.
REBELS 4, MUSTANGS 0
Saturday afternoon proved just as difficult for the Mustangs, as they fell scoreless to the Rebels.
Much like the evening before, Walker Valley started the game keeping pace with Knox West, only allowing their opponents a goal 31 minutes into the game for the lone score of the opening half.
Carroll had some breakthrough plays but was never able to capitalize on them.
“Blayne Carroll is a great hustle kid,” Bayliss commented.
While their first half was a relatively strong one, the Mustangs’ second half proved to be deja vu.
The Rebels were able to strike three more times in the second half and kept Walker Valley off of the scoreboard.
“We were facing a really good team, and we’re young as can be, so I was pleased with our performance,” Bayliss said of the game. “It was close for most of the game. The second half of the game got away from us a little bit. We’ve got a lot of positives to pull out from that game.”
During Saturday afternoon’s game, Knox West registered nine shots on goal, while Walker Valley managed only two.
“We’ve got two more months to continue to grow, and we’re going to win a lot of games this year,” Bayliss predicted.