Templeton win 7 straight, defeat Atascadero 2-1
ATASCADERO — The Templeton Eagles boys soccer team kicked this season off as poorly as they could, starting 0-6, but have turned it around following their 2-1 win over the Hounds on Thursday night and are now in first place in the Ocean League.
The reigning Ocean League Champions entered this season with almost a completely new team after graduating 14 seniors from their 17-win team in 2018-19 and needed some time this year to figure out their personnel and more importantly to mesh as a team. Now, after winning seven straight games, Templeton and Coach Dale Wiggins find themselves 5-1 in league and tied for first place with the Nipomo.
“I think what is happening is we are getting our team unity,” Wiggins said after the Eagles win over Atascadero on the road Thursday. “Earlier in the season we had a lot of guys that hadn’t really played together and we are finally finding our rhythm, finding people’s positions and they are just doing better.”
Thursday night was the first real big game of the season in the Ocean League as it featured not only the top two teams from a year ago but also had first place on the line.
The Greyhounds entered the game as the preseason favorites to win the league with the Nipomo Titans and came into Thursday at 4-1 in league and 7-8-2 overall and, most importantly, with their offense clicking. In the past few weeks, the Hounds have scored some all-time highlight-reel goals and have powered past teams scoring 18 goals in their previous five games.
However, Thursday night it was the Eagles that led the game in shots and quality offensive opportunities. Had Seth Camp not played such an exceptional game in goals for the Hounds, the score could have been a bit more lopsided.
Templeton’s offense forced Camp to make three diving saves in the first 15 minutes of the game and sent two balls off the post before they finally broke through in the 18th minute when senior Rusty Cohen sent a shot in the box that ricocheted off a couple of players and fell perfectly at the feet of Paul Schram who calmly put it into the back of the net.
“[This was] one of the biggest games of the year so far, going for first place,” Schram said following the game. “We know Atascadero is really good and we just wanted to beat them tonight. It was really good, it was all Rusty [Cohen] on that shot and I just got the rebound but I am glad to be open and get the ball in and just get everyone’s confidence up early in the game.”
The game went to the break with Templeton up 1-0 but the Hounds responded just a few minutes into the second half on a Wyatt Hasch direct kick goal.
Both teams battled into the night and it was the Eagles stringy defense that kept Atascadero off the board. However, after applying pressure the whole second half Templeton broke through by forcing an own goal off an Atascadero defender after a corner kick left the ball bouncing around in the box.
Atascadero will head to Templeton on Friday for the highly anticipated rematch.