Posted on March 27, 2014.
It’s apparent the Munford Cougar Soccer team has a target on its back.
The Cougars opponents have been trying to strike that target with physical play, but Munford has withstood the aggressive style of teams like Bolton and Covington to start 3-0 before welcoming rival the Millington Trojans to town.
The March 18 match up was Game One for the Trojans. Although it was Millington’s 2014 debut, the Trojans used a strategy Munford has become too familiar with to keep the game close. A pair of goals from Cougar junior Jesper Kemp helped Munford remain perfect winning 2-0.
The night before the Cougars outlasted the Bolton Wildcats 2-1 in a contest involving a lot of pushing and banging.
“Two very physical games,” Munford Head Coach Richard Selby said. “My guys keep their composure. Last night at Bolton it was one of those deals were you had to fight to keep your composure because they’re going to play you physically. Everybody wants to play you physically because they want to get you out of your game.”
Millington Head Coach Larry Dagen used the Munford game as a way to see how his young team would play under the lights. Dagen admitted on paper it was clear the Cougars were the favorites coming into the game.
“That was an absolute moral victory,” Dagen acknowledged. “Our guys played their butts off. That team right there (Munford), that’s a good soccer team. They’ve got nine seniors, seven are competitive. Three are going to play in college. Our guys are young. We have one senior and he gets hurt early in the game. They were not intimidated. They did a great job.
“We had guys like George Anderson, who haven’t played before, did a heck of a job,” he continued. “And Luke Bell in the defense did a great job. Our defense was tremendous with Spencer on the right side. I think we’ve got us a good looking group there. We have a good idea of what we want to do with our defense.”
Cougar Cedrick Williams moved his way through the Millington defense early in the contest to locate Kemp for a goal making it 1-0 early in the game.
Later in the first half, Kemp was fouled in the goalie box setting up a penalty kick. Kemp found the back of the net to make the score 2-0 at the half.
Once the Millington defensive line settled down, the Trojans kept pace with Cougars like Jaylen Hill, Tyler Futrell, Troy Moyer, Robert Savage and Danny Roach.
The Trojans got more shots on goal in the final 40 minutes putting Cougar senior goalie Erik Furseth to work. Furseth proved why he’s a Division I signee with the Memphis Tigers making athletic saves to keep Millington scoreless.
Furseth shouted out directions for his teammates from his vintage point in the final minutes.
“You’re talking about a Division I goalie,” Selby said. “And a Division I goalie knows he had to take control back there because he sees the field. He’s the one who has to manage the game no matter what anybody is saying or yelling at him. He has to manage it and he distributed very well tonight. He kept his guys where they were supposed to be. He’s an outstanding keeper.”
Selby said Millington did an outstanding job of playing his team tough. And Selby said he was proud of his group for winning two tough games against Regional foes.
“As long as we keep our composure, we’re going to be fine,” he said. “We have to possess the ball, be smart and do the things we’re supposed to do.”
Dagen said playing a top-level team like Munford to a 2-0 decision will encourage his young Trojans through the rest of the season.
“First game, I think we can have a great year,” he said. “We have a great bunch of kids. They’re learning. They put it all together tonight. We still had some bonehead mistakes tonight. But we made up for it like Millington always does, with heart. They just played hard and I’m proud of them.”