Head Coach Mark Serene says his Fort Mill boys’ soccer team is focusing on playing cohesively and working together in the 2022 season.
The Yellow Jackets showed flashes of that mentality in Friday night’s 2-0 non-region home loss to Spring Valley at Bob Jones Stadium, but Serene still saw plenty of opportunities to improve in the games ahead.
“I think our team didn’t have enough aggression to the ball,” he said. “(Spring Valley) were good opponents, they won nearly every 50/50 ball. We were too passive. We have to be stronger to the ball.”
The Vikings eased to a comfortable road victory, their first of the season, highlighted by Drew Boysia’s second-minute strike and Thomas Roberts’ 69th minute blast.
Senior Bjorn Coltvet registered Fort Mill’s best chance of the night midway through the second half when he played a smart ball into the Spring Valley penalty area, but the pass couldn’t connect with either of the oncoming Yellow Jackets flying into the fray.
With the loss, Fort Mill drops to 2-5 on the season.
Serene said his team is in a “major rebuild” this year. Ten of the seniors from last year’s team that finished in second place in Region 3-5A have since graduated. Serene said there are two returning juniors and two returning sophomores on his team.
The challenge, he said after the game, will be to knit together a team that can work well together and produces a winning combination.
“These are some great quality kids,” he said. “Now it’s about cohesion, that’s our growing pain. This is a foundational year… It’s about building a core.”
The Yellow Jackets were forced to play on the back foot for most of Friday’s match.
Vikings’ senior Drew Boysia was able to unlock the Fort Mill defense in the opening 90 seconds by creating space down the right wing and hitting a hard shot that beat the Fort Mill goalkeeper to his far post.
Sophomore Braden Gritz had a couple of opportunities for the hosts. His best chance came in the 28th minute, but he couldn’t quite cushion his close-range header from a cross past the Vikings’ keeper.
Coltvet saw his cross go begging in the 66th minute. Three minutes later, the Vikings doubled their lead. Boysia played in Roberts on the right wing, and he unleashed a hard right-footed shot that flew into the top corner of the Yellow Jackets’ net.
Fort Mill will continue to play quality opponents in the week ahead. The Yellow Jackets will next face Dutch Fork on the road in a non-region game March 8, before hosting Rock Hill at home on March 11.
Spring Valley will host River Bluff at home next Tuesday before traveling to play Nation Ford on March 11.
Serene said he would consider this team to be a success if it can compete in region play and make its way into the postseason. Fort Mill did so last year, falling to Dorman High 3-0 in the first round of the state playoffs.