Terra Ceia finishes season with win over Unity

Published 10:31 am Tuesday, October 18, 2016

PANTEGO — Terra Ceia stormed out of the gate in the second half, scoring five goals en route to a 7-1 thumping of Unity on Monday. The win was an appropriate ending to what has been an exceptional season, and it gave the Knights momentum ahead of their playoff game at Oakwood on Tuesday.

The Warriors played a strong first half in a road game against a strong team. In the 16th minute, Messiah Barnes finished a give-and-go passing play with Darrius Blackledge to put Terra Ceia on the board.

The chances continued to pile up for the Knights. Some were off the mark, while others were stopped thanks to an excellent performance by Unity goalkeeper Tanner Boyd. Quentin Van Essendelft made Boyd pay for a mistake, though, when he caught Boyd off his line and beat him with a shot from near midfield.

The Warriors were trailing by two until Avery Bowen put them on the board. A strong shot off his foot darted into the top-right corner of the net, beating Terra Ceia keeper Austin Roscoe.

Avery Bowen scoots past Terra Ceia defender Alex Van Staalduinen. He scored Unity’s only goal of the game on Monday.

Avery Bowen scoots past Terra Ceia defender Alex Van Staalduinen. He scored Unity’s only goal of the game on Monday.

Boyd snuffed a chance for Barnes, who was in alone behind Unity’s defense, to keep his side’s deficit at one goal heading into halftime.

“He had a lot of shots against him. They kept the pressure on us and I’m real proud of him,” Unity coach Shawn Harding said of his first-year netminder. “He’s come a long way.”

The Knights quickly doubled their advantage with a pair of goals early in the second half. Johannes Van Essendelft scored one of his own before sending in a cross that found Barnes wide open.

“It being 2-1 at halftime against a really good soccer team, I was tickled to death,” Harding said. “They came out, got a quick goal, kept putting pressure on us, and I think we ran out of gas.”

Terra Ceia coach Nate Burns added, “Johannes comes to play every time we step on the field. He’s an energizer bunny. He goes hard all game long. He’s a tremendous player and an excellent passer.”

Dawson Cox showed off his playmaking acumen by sending in a cross of his own, which Blackledge finished off with a one-time shot. Cox scored Terra Ceia’s last goal of the game after dribbling around the Warriors’ defense.

“I feel like we really controlled the ball well,” Burns said. “Our passing was good and we were pushing our backs up the field. You saw goals by two of our defenders in the second half.”

Shaiquan Moore found twine in the game, too. Barnes nearly completed the hat trick, if not for another impressive stop by Boyd.