“It was a good team effort. We played tough and with a sense of purpose,” commented coach Tom Bayliss after his Mustangs blanked Silverdale Baptist Academy 2-nil Tuesday evening on the Walker Valley pitch.
“We played good defense and our goal keepers (freshman Caleb Gruber and senior John Hayes) came up with some good saves,” praised the Mustang mentor. “We got a lot of good minutes from our starters and our sub as well.”
Although just 2-12-1 on the season, coach Bayliss felt like the victory was a good sign.
“We have just one more match (Thursday against Sweetwater) before the district (5-AAA) tournament and this was a good win for us to build on heading into that,” he said.
Walker Valley will host Sweetwater Thursday at 5:30 for their annual Senior Day before traveling to third-seeded Soddy-Daisy for an 11 a.m. match Saturday to open post-season play. The Mustangs are the No. 6 seed for the district event and will be looking to gain some revenge on the Trojans for a regular season defeat.
Tuesday’s match saw the ball find the back of the net three times, but only one goal went up on the scoreboard.
Silverdale struck first at the 12-minute mark with what appeared to be an unassisted goal from about 20-yards out but an offsides call negated the score.
After several near misses, Walker Valley was able to break the scoreless tie in the 22nd minute when freshman Jolen West got past the Seahawk defenders on the left flank and was able to send a crossing pass to senior Taylor Jenkins who rushed the box from the right and got the ball past a diving Silverdale goal keeper.
The Mustangs found the nylon a second time just before the half, but once again the referee waved off the score with an offsides whistle leaving the score 1-nil at the intermission.
The final 40 minutes was much like the first with Walker Valley scoring close to the midway mark when Jenkins broke free on the left wing and got off a shot that was deflected by a defender, but he was able to pick up the ricochet and put the ball across the goal line for the unassisted score.
The Mustangs got off 15 shots on goal in the contest, while holding Silverdale to just nine.
Gruber was between the pipes for the hosts in the opening half, making a trio of saves, but a collision with a Seahawk player caused him to sit out the final 40 minutes, where Hayes came on to stop five Silverdale shots.
“Caleb (Gruber) and John (Hayes) did a great job for us to get the shutout, plus we got some strong defensive play from Noah Robinson, Jake Vincent, Andrew Cresswell and Logan Helton,” praised coach Bayliss.
“Hopefully we’ll have another good game against Sweetwater and then go down and shock Soddy-Daisy,” the Mustang mentor proclaimed.