WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
Roster continuity has not been a strong suit this season for Lafayette’s boys soccer team, but the team appears to be whole heading into a state tournament match against Blacksburg.
The Rams (13-5-1) have only played the same lineup twice all season due to injuries and red-card suspensions. Lafayette head coach Brian Sorrell says his entire team is looks ready thanks to a week-long rest period between the regional finals and this weekend’s Virginia High School League Group 3A Boys Soccer Tournament.
“The best thing that could have happened to us was this week off,” Sorrell said. “We definitely could use the rest and I think we’re ready to get going here. We’ve had injuries all season and it’s good to get those taken care of.”
Now, fully healthy, the Rams will face their toughest task all year: Attempting to take down the 3A West champions Blacksburg, which has allowed a staggering two goals all season en route to building a 20-1 record.
The Rams will have lead goal scorer Reeves Trott back on the field for the game. Trott was forced to sit out six weeks earlier in the season with an undisclosed injury. Despite missing nine games, Trott found the back of the net 19 times en route to earning Conference 25 Player of the Year honors.
“Reeves Trott is an exceptional player. Everyone knows it,” Sorrell said of his star midfielder. “When he’s on the field he commands respect out there in a good way. He finds the people who are open. He’s the catalyst that gets everything running in the right direction.”
Sorrell said his team was able to take advantage of Trott’s injury by giving playing time to players that otherwise were not expected to see the field. The result has been a deeper, more mentally prepared Lafayette team.
That team will have to find holes in the Blacksburg defense. Blacksburg plays two goalies — Will Linkenhoker and Gage Carroll — each game, switching the two out after halftime. The two keepers have combined to record 37 saves this season. Comparatively, Lafayette goalkeeper David Domalski has made 103 saves.
Coming up with a gameplan for a team that has been scored on twice in 21 games is a daunting task, but Sorrell has some tricks up his sleeve for when game time rolls around.
Not wanting to give away too much, Sorrell shared he was planning on shifting some players around and was hoping to utilize his team’s speed and strength against a possession-heavy Blacksburg.
Unafraid of the challenge of playing against the Bruins, Sorrell said his team is entering the state tournament with plenty of confidence stemming from the Rams being able to find the back of the net in all but one game this season.
If the Rams can continue their scoring pace, the prospects of knocking off top-seeded Blacksburg become much more realistic.
Lafayette will take on Blacksburg at 4 p.m. Friday at Liberty University.