SALAMANCA — As they cross into October, first-year boys varsity soccer coach Lloyd Long’s Salamanca Warriors carry a 5-4 record, on par with Long’s basic goals for the year.
“I was definitely shooting for at least a minimum of a .500 record,” Long said of his expectations for his first year coaching the varsity level. “For the rest of the season, I’d like to improve on that, certainly.”
In the Warriors’ last game of September Monday afternoon in Franklinville, Salamanca jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Matt Brahany’s left foot sent a ball over the keeper’s head.
Later in the first half, sophomore Tate Reynolds put the Warriors ahead 2-1, and his brother, Ford, a senior, scored once before and once again after halftime.
“The Reynolds brothers are hungry,” Long said. “They want the ball, they want goals. I’m leaning on quite a few players, (but) they seem to be the two that are hungry.”
Senior Austin Hill’s second-half tally proved to be the game-winner.
“The boys have really been working on putting some things together that we’ve been talking about in practice,” Long said. “In the last two games, they’ve been very fortunate and able to do that and hopefully they build on that for the rest of the season. It’s definitely a good starting block for the second half of the season.”
Makenzie Tucker’s 16 saves kept the Panthers in check, surviving a late rally. Miguel Reyes and John Wiley each scored twice.
“He’s been huge in goal for us,” Long said of Tucker. “He’s come up big a few times.
For the second half, Long has some ideas on how to improve the squad.
“(We need to) continue to work as a team for a whole game,” Long said. “They started out giving me little spurts and they’ve really come together to give me good, quality minutes. When we put a whole game together — that would be my goal for the season for these guys to learn what that feels like.”
The coach hopes he improves as well.
“As a first-year coach, not knowing the teams I was going against, you only hear, ‘Well, this team’s excellent, you’ve got to watch out,’” he said. “I’ve definitely learned from what I’ve seen the first round.
“I think the boys themselves have gained some confidence against some of the team that we’ve faced and I think some of the losses that we’ve had, they might have a different approach that we’ve had.”
The Warriors play their homecoming game Friday at 4:30 p.m. against Cassadaga Valley.