Smyrna's soccer family honored their senior players Thursday night, but the Dover Senators spoiled the party with a 5-0 blanking of the Eagles.
Dover struck first on a seemingly harmless throw-in play that was directed to the far post, but the Eagle defenders left several Senator players unmarked, and the result was a tip-in goal by Phillip Torres in the eighth minute of play. Dover continued on the attack throughout the first half as their forwards were consistently quicker to the loose balls.
"We came out quickly tonight, we're finding ourselves after a tough season," said Dover coach Paul Booton.
"We went with the high pressure game, the plan was to pressure them in their end and not let them out and the plan worked well, the team played very hard tonight," he said.
In the 16th minute, Smyrna's senior forward Robbie McKeldin had a good run down the right side of the field, but his sharp angle shot was punched up and over the net by the Senators' net minder Jonathan Carson. Two minutes later however, Dover struck again as numerous Senator forwards pressed the Smyrna net. The pressure was too much for the Eagles, and Paul Kim's quick shot gave Dover a 2-0 lead in the 18th minute. Kim had a great night with a goal and three assists.
Smyrna kept working to get back in the game, as in the 22nd minute, McKeldin slipped free from the pack in the center of the field, but a long, lead pass from midfield was tipped away on a solid play from the Dover defense.
The Senators then broke the game open in the 23rd minute with their third goal of the contest by junior forward Christian Whitney-Smith. Near the end of the first half, Eagle net minder Jacob Stoner made a series of good saves to help keep his team close, but in the 34th minute Dover tallied again on a nifty shot by Whitney-Smith, who scored on a header from a pin-point crossing pass from Kim giving the Senators a 4-0 lead at the half.
"After the first twenty minutes or so, the game just got away from us," said Smyrna coach Bill Schwartz.
"Dover was a phenomenal team tonight, they play a tremendous game through the middle and up top. They put three players up top and we had trouble controlling them," said Schwartz. "They are a quick team and moved the ball well and we contained them early, but we had trouble as the game wore on."
Smyrna tried valiantly to get back into the contest, but Dover's defense proved too strong. Any hopes of a comeback were thwarted by a fifth and final goal in the 54th minute on a penalty kick by Dwayne Henry. In the 70th minute, a Smyrna player had a clean breakout, but the shot smacked against the post and flew out of harm's way, and preserving the Dover shutout.
Page 2 of 2 - Dover is now 7-5 on the season and next plays against Seaford On Tuesday, October 23rd. The Eagles dropped to 3-7-2 and travel north to face Charter on Saturday.