COVINGTON - The Alcovy boys soccer team may not have made the playoffs, finishing fifth in Area 4-AAAA, but its season was far from being disappointing.
Finishing with an overall record of 6-5-2 and 4-4 in area play, first-year boys head coach Chris Edgar gave the Tigers their first winning season. The Tigers came close last year, going 7-7 under Michael Ebel.
Unfortunately, that was the only goal they reached, having missed out on a trip to the state playoffs and winning the county championship.
Even though Alcovy beat Newton 3-2, it fell to Eastside 2-1.
"The Newton game and Eastside game were extremely exciting matches for all teams involved. Unfortunately we came up a couple (penalty kicks) short against Eastside," Edgar said. "We did have the first winning season in school history. We fell short of the state playoffs. I hope that one fuels us in the offseason to work hard and prepare for next year."
The losses that probably kept the Tigers from the Class AAAA playoffs were their first area game against Jonesboro and Dutchtown. They lost to Jonesboro 2-1 before falling to Dutchtown 7-1.
"I felt from the very beginning we would be very competitive in this region. The Jonesboro game put us behind the eight ball out of the gate in the region. We controlled play for 75 minutes and then collapsed in the last five giving up two goals," Edgar said. "Then the Dutchtown game was 1-1 with 20 minutes left to go, we then collapsed and gave up six goals, including two own goals and two penalty kicks."
Alcovy still had a chance to make it to the playoffs by winning its final two games. The Tigers took care of Mt. Zion-Jonesboro 6-1, but could not do the same against Forest Park, losing their season finale 4-2.
Despite not making two of the team's three goals, Edgar was proud of how his team competed most of the time.
"There were many times during the season that I was proud. I think the proudest moments I had were when we played good soccer," Edgar said. "On many occasions, we put passes together to set up shots, made great runs off the ball and played tough, physical defense. The bounce back win against Mt. Zion was a good one."
While the team as whole played well, Nick Waggoner, Kyle Vojtesak and Cody Stargell really stood out.
Waggoner led the team with seven assists with Gene Stolp helping in five of Alcovy's 34 goals.
Vojtesak paced the Tigers with 14 goals, while Waggoner scored eight times.
"I think Nick Waggoner was the epitome of a non-verbal and verbal leader," Edgar said. "He always encouraged his teammates in practice and on the field. I will truly miss his leadership."
One downfall the Tigers had was the way they dealt with adversity.
Although most experienced teams are able to work through it, Edgar feels, even though his team fought hard most of the time, it was unable to play through it more times than not.
"They got frustrated many times with factors that were beyond their control, I will leave it at that," he said. "I am excited about the growth of the program. We have some young talent coming up that could step right in next year to try and fill the voids left by this senior class. I am really excited about the improvement of several players such as Albert Elkerson, Darion Miller and Kejuan Frazier.
"They can be really important to our success next year. I am also excited about returning our leading goal scorer in Kyle, which will play up top the whole season. I also return two solid defenders in David Maturino and Matt Spradlin."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.