Nothing’s come easy for the Big Walnut boys soccer team this season. Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to visiting Granville that added to a winless streak of 12 games was just another example.
But, despite the losses, things aren’t all bad in Sunbury.
BW coach Tyler DeLorenzo broke the year into two separate seasons.
“The first six or seven (games) we were losing and playing very poorly,” he said. “Since the Canal Winchester game (a 2-1 loss Sept. 13), it feels like a different season. We’re losing, but it feels like there’s been growth and improvement and progress in each game.”
DeLorenzo had nothing but positive things to say about his team after the game.
“This is the best we’ve played all season,” he said. “This was a really good performance – a good showing. (Granville) is a really good team – there were chances both ways. It’s disheartening to lose, but with the performance, I have no negativity toward this game at all – we played really well.”
The Eagles took it to a talented Granville team.
Chase Geddis found Tim Rumas on a post-to-post pass on the left side and Rumas beat the goalie back right to give the Eagles (1-11-1) a 1-0 lead 34 seconds into the second half after BW had missed on several chances in the first half.
It was the first goal for the Eagles since a 3-1 loss to Olentangy Sept. 17. They have played three games since.
“As soon as that ball went in it was (like a weight) off my shoulders,” DeLorenzo said. “(The last two games) we’ve played well, but just couldn’t score and as soon as the ball went in it was a relief.”
The Eagles scored four goals in their season-opening win over Teays Valley Aug. 19 and just seven goals since, including the one against Granville.
But, Granville responded. Ryan Birgeneau scored twice for the Blue Aces (10-2-2) and Colin Crates scored what ended up being the game-winner with just over 24 minutes left.
There are a lot of reason why the team hasn’t lived up to expectations this season – injuries, a difficult schedule and a lack of confidence after a prolonged losing streak – just to name a few.
So, how does a coach counteract that negativity? DeLorenzo told his guys to go home and win at something – a video game … tic-tac-toe – anything.
“I think winning is a habit and losing is a habit, so one weekend, I just told them to go home and win,” he said. “Just little things to take their mind off that we’re losing and struggling.”
He held wheelbarrow races in the gym during a rainy day last week – just for a smile.
“It’s competitive, as well as light-hearted and fun,” he said.
Birgeneau scored after Granville’s next possession and Crates scored the game-winner 10 minutes later.
Kyle Otterstadt assisted on each of the first two goals. Austin Rader also had an assist and Daniel Brnjic stopped nine shots for the Blue Aces.
BW is right back at it Thursday night with a meeting at home against OCC-Capital foe Franklin Heights at 7:15 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.