In a battle of the top two area boys’ soccer team just ahead of next week’s Class 2A Floyd Central Sectional, Jeffersonville made a statement by handling Floyd Central in a lop-sided affair Wednesday night.
Jeffersonville was led by junior Isaih Salazar who posted a hat trick and, at times, made it look easy.
“Coach [Carson Webb] calls me a work horse, I play very hard and give my very best. Tonight the goals just came to me,” said Salazar, who seemed to be all over the field.
Salazar credits his ability to his conditioning, which allows him to run at full speed for the entire time he is on the field.
“I practice every day. I do alot of running to stay in game form,” a very happy Salazar said.
For the first 15 minutes of the opening half, things were back and forth between the two teams. Then a yellow card to Senior Erick Martinez seemed to be just what Jeff needed to get things going.
Afterward the card, Jeffersonville’s intensity picked up as it began to attack the Highlanders. Jeff poured in three straight goals, two by Salazar and one from senior foward Leonard Kwitonda.
Floyd scored the next goal when Zach Lewis punched one in, trying to gain some momentum and slow down the Red Devil attack. The rally was quickly haulted as Jeff responded with a goal of its own when Alex Duckworth booted one from 40 feet out, giving the Red Devils a 4-1 lead at the half.
For the most of the first half, Jeffersonville had Floyd on its heels as the Devils continued to push the ball and unleash shots and forcing the Highlanders to make a change at that keeper.
Floyd Central came out in the second half more aggressive and played with a sense of urgency. After another Salazar goal that made it 5-1, Floyd match his goal with a nice attack from Junior Henok Jones to cut the lead to 5-2.
Floyd kept possession on the Red Devil side for some time and had several oppertunities to cut into the lead even more.
Jeff regained control and wore down the Highlander and added four unanswered goals to cruise to a 9-2 victory.
“Once we settled in and played our game, we were able to put things together and finish,” Webb said. “Speed is our strength and we were really strong on the ball.”
Jeffersonville recieved great defensive play from Martinez and junior defender Jeanpaul Rojas. The Red Devils seemed to play as if they were determined to win in their final home game.
“This game was very big for me. It was my last game at home and I wanted to win very bad,” Kwitonda said.
This was a big test for both teams who could meet again in the upcoming sectional championship. Both coaches knew the potential of a possible rematch.
Floyd Central coach Tim Rice said, “They just played better than us tonight [and] they deserved to win. I hope this is fuel going foward.”
“We are Jeff High,” Webb said. “We have a big bull’s-eye on our backs and will recieve everyone’s best. This was a statement game, to beat a very good Floyd Central team is a statement, but at the same time, [it] could also be used to fuel them for the next time we meet.
“Overall I’m very proud. We had some mental lapses that we will work on. We don’t want to be that team that gets upset or loses to a team we should beat.”
The victory brought Jeff’s record to 13-2-2 with a 5-0-1 record in the Hoosier Hills Conference. The Red Devils can clinch their second conference championship in three years when they travel to Columbus to face East on Saturday.
JEFFERSONVILLE 9, FLOYD CENTRAL 2
Floyd Central 1 1—2
Jeffersonville 4 5—9
J — Salazar (Rojas) 24th min.
J — Salazar (Martinez) 22.
J — Kwintonda (unassisted) 20.
J — Duckworth (unassisted) 19.
F — Lewis (unassisted) 3.
J — Salazar (unassisted) 37.
F — Jones (unassisted) 30.
J — Yered Lara (unassisted) 25.
J — Kwintonda (Lara) 23.
J — Dylan Stinson (Vasil Capacli) 13.
J — Capacli (Martinez) 11.
Shots — Floyd Central 9, Jeffersonville 19.