Boys soccer undefeated and uncontested in district play

Chris Nguyen

The Raider varsity soccer team huddles before the Rider/Old High Game. The Raiders won 1-0 on Feb. 19.

Byron Dowling

The Rider Raiders Boys soccer team is undefeated as they’ve kicked off district play possessing a record of (9-0-1).

The Raiders most recent game came against the Decatur Eagles in district play, their second game in as many days as the Raiders were looking to stay unbeaten. Josh Findlay scored 15 minutes into the game assisted by Sawyer Horton and it proved to be the only goal of the game as the Raiders claimed a 1-0 decision over the Eagles. Dylan Hillard, who has allowed only three goals all year, shutout the Eagles in the first 60 minutes then Drake Svcvepinski came into the game and kept the Eagles from evening the score. The shutout is Hillard’s 7th of the year.

“Were in a fight with complacency and were losing,” said Coach Josh Hill. “This game shouldn’t been as close as it was.”

The day before the Raiders took on Decatur, they took on crosstown district rival the Hirschi Huskies in a decisive battle of district contenders. The game had originally been scheduled for the previous Friday, but the area snowstorm pushed the game’s date to the following Monday.
Fresh off an extended siesta, the Raiders were rested and ready to take on the Hirschi Huskies. The Raiders jumped out to an early lead and didn’t look back as they had no trouble handling the Huskies as the Raiders raced past Hirschi by a score of 5-0. Goalkeeper Dylan Hillard recorded his 6th shutout of the year and Drake Svcvepinski played the second half and shutout the Huskies.

“Defense has really been the strength of our team,” Hill said.
“It’s always good to have options at goalie so if something happens the backup has varsity experience,” said Hill of his Goalie’s Dylan Hillard and Drake Svcvepinski.

A few days earlier the Raiders hosted district opponent Burkburnett looking to improve their unbeaten record. The Raiders had no problem doing that as they handed the struggling Bulldogs a 4-0 district loss. Tyler Howard scored twice in the first half, one on a free kick and another assisted by Seth Lyons who also scored to give the Raiders a 3-0 halftime lead. In the second half Nick Oechsner connected on a free kick that put the game well out of reach as the Raiders got the win by a score of 4-0. Rider goalkeeper Dylan Hillard recorded the shutout in the first half and in the second half Drake Svcvepinski preserved the shutout eliminating any comeback thoughts the bulldogs had in mind

“Lots of players got experience and playing time,” said Coach Josh Hill. “It’s always good to score early it breaks down your opponents hope.”

The Raiders had opened up their district schedule against the Leopards of Gainesville High School with district champion expectations. The Raiders took the first step in that direction as they had no trouble handling the Leopards by prevailing in an uncontested 4-0 victory.
Josh Findlay and Tyler Howard each scored in the first half half then Sawyer Horton and Cash Fields scored in the second half to put the game away. Chase Roberts, Ryan Castelli, Harrison Howard, and Josh Findlay each notched an assist for the Raiders. On the defensive end goalkeeper Dylan Hillard shutout the Leopards in the first half, then backup goalkeepers Drake Svcvepinski and Logan Spence, in a combined effort, blanked the Leopards in the second half for the shutout.

“Our offense has struggled. We’ve had chances but just haven’t connected,” said Hill.