PASO ROBLES — For the second time this season the Templeton Eagles boys soccer team accomplished something that no other team in the Ocean League has done, beat Atascadero. The Eagles have given the Hounds, who currently sit in first place with a 6-2 league record, their only two losses in the Ocean League and just put an end to their six-game winning streak, 1-0, thanks to an early goal by junior Rusty Cohen and a strong defensive effort.
“We had it on the right side and our right back dribbled up and played me a great through ball,” Cohen said. “And I took a touch in and cut it and took a shot with my left and it was back right post.”
The Eagles’ game plan was to come out strong and play with high energy and they executed it to perfection. Cohen scored in the early minutes of the game putting the pressure on the shoulders of the young Greyhounds team.
“We needed to set the tone coming out early and fast and hard,” Cohen said
While the Hounds came into the match with a game cushion in the league thanks to their winning streak, the Eagles came into the game off of back-to-back one-goal losses after starting undefeated in the Ocean League.
“It is fantastic for us,” Templeton head coach Dale Wiggins said. “We have been struggling the last two games, 1-0 games. We possessed the ball a lot but just couldn't get the ball in the goal. The challenge is rain, weather, you know, all the teams have the same thing but it’s nice to get the monkey off your back.”
The Eagles fell to the Morro Bay Pirates on Jan. 8 and to St. Joseph on Jan. 15, their Jan. 11 game was postponed due to weather and will be played on Jan. 28.
The Eagles applied pressure early and often and had the Hounds scrambling in the first half to find their bearings. The Eagles scored in the first 10 minutes of the game and were the more aggressive team going for the 50-50 balls.
“It is just more pressure than the other teams,” Atascadero head coach Gary Setting said as to why he thinks the Eagles have had their number this year. “They come out, they pressure, they want to win. I think the boys recognize that and Templeton really likes to come out strong and set the tone.”
Atascadero played well in the second half and possessed the ball for a great deal of time, but could not make the final finishing play needed to get the equalizer. While the Eagles did not have as much possession as they are accustomed too, they almost capitalized on Hounds mistakes and forced the Greyhounds keeper, Seth Camp, into two diving saves.
“I think we matched that tone in the second half but we just had trouble finding that last quality ball,” Setting said.
With the loss, the Hounds are 6-2 and still in first place in the division but have played one more league game than the Eagles. The Hounds have started clicking on both sides of the ball outscoring their opponents 11-3 as they charged into first place over their winning streak
“They were really excited to reel off that many wins in a row and no one can take that away from them,” Setting said. “We talked last night about how every team is going to come after us and I tried to put in their minds the vision of keep working hard as a program and then getting to a point where everybody wants to play us like that.”