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Bobcat strikers sweep the week

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

Steven Southard moves the ball up the field during action against Kingswood. Eric D'Aleo. (click for larger version)
September 24, 2012
PLYMOUTH — For the Plymouth boys' soccer team, it was about as good a week as could've possibly been expected.

The Bobcats won all three of their games and improved to 5-3 as the season reached its halfway point.

"Three wins in three home games," coach Ken Wheeler said. "That was a blast for our boys, no doubt about it.

"I'm happy with a team being 5-3 at the halfway point," the Bobcat coach continued. "The guys are excited, but we have a lot of work to do in order to put everything together to compete with the best teams in our division."

The week closed with a home game with Kennett on Friday, Sept. 21, and the Bobcats got a pair of goals in the first half from Collin McDonough and a second half tally from Robbie Mills to pick up the 3-0 win.

"We were happy to walk away with a 3-0 win," Wheeler said, noting the Eagles were the third team this season to employ a trick usually seen in ice hockey. The Eagles pulled their goalie in an attempt to get more attackers in the offensive zone after the Bobcats got the 3-0 lead.

"I don't think we've ever seen that before," the Bobcat coach said.

Jake Buford had four saves in the net for the Bobcats, who earned their second consecutive shutout of the week.

On Wednesday, Sept. 19, the Bobcats played host to Milford and again got two goals from McDonough in the first half to get a 2-0 win.

"We didn't have much of an idea about what Milford had," Wheeler said.

He noted that the Spartans often substituted six players at a time, an unusual strategy that Wheeler hadn't seen before.

However, it somewhat worked for the Spartans, as they managed to hold the Bobcats scoreless in the second half.

"In the second half they definitely held us from scoring," Wheeler said. "We didn't hold back, that's for sure."

The week began with an easy 9-1 win over Kingswood in a game that Wheeler used to get a lot of kids a lot of playing time.

What Wheeler has been most impressed with is that the Bobcats have done all of their work without their top 11 players on the field at one time, due to a variety of injuries.

"We still haven't played our best 11 due to injuries," Wheeler said. "We're still shuffling people around to make up for the injuries."

The Bobcats had a big game after deadline on Monday against Laconia and a rematch with Kennett after deadline on Wednesday. The team will be back in action on Tuesday, Oct. 2, for a trip to John Stark for a 4:30 p.m. game.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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