SHERIDAN — The Generals used their first home game for their first win Monday afternoon.
Sheridan defeated Western Nebraska Community College 2-1 behind goals from Corbin Shriner.
A bonus for head coach Austin Albers: the win came over his former coach Todd Rasnic who he played for at Western Nebraska.
The young coach Albers was all smiles after the game Monday, finally breaking through with his just as young team. He tweeted later Monday night, saying few people get to coach against their former college coach while even fewer get to win that game.
For the Generals, it was a long-awaited win after an 0-6 start on the road through September in Region IX play. They got the result over a WNCC team that had beat them 3-0 during the road trip.
“The first thing is that we figured out a lot of our personnel issues and got people in the places they need to be, the group kind of came together and said ‘no more,'” Albers said. “Having them buy in, win the 50-50 balls and possess the ball and create more opportunities than we were early in the season was the biggest thing. We had some people up top that gave us a little more offensive fire power.”
The Generals pushed up from the first whistle, and the pressure had the Cougars on their heels. Their chances were many, and it seemed unlikely the half would end scoreless, but narrowly missed shots from Hunter Reece and Markus Gould (Spearfish, S.D.) finding space behind the Cougars back line, kept the teams stalemated. Finally, in the second half, a chipped shot toward the goal by Shriner in the 62nd minute squirted out of the keeper’s raised hands, over his head and into the net. Shriner came to Sheridan College as a transfer from Laramie County Community College and is originally from Cheyenne.
“We had a lot of great chances, just couldn’t put one away,” Albers said. “That was God looking down on us and saying ‘I guess you guys deserve one.’ We’ll take it any way we can get it. Finishing with the late one to put us up was awesome.”
Western Nebraska answered in the 69th minute as David Hernandez wasn’t closed down by Generals defenders when he emerged into the final third on a counter attack, and the Cougar midfielder hit a dipping volley past SC keeper Ian Feather (Worland).
Six minutes later, Shriner’s second goal displayed more of his striking class as he tamed a nicely lofted volley-assist from defender Kalob Rodriguez (Buffalo), tapped it past the advancing keeper and rolled the ball into the back of the net. He nearly got another on a run in the 85th minute, but sent his shot rolling inches right of the post.
Albers was pleased with the result, seeing mostly good things Monday.
“I’d like to see us play a little more physical throughout, there’s little segments where we kind of check out and just playing quicker through the central midfield, sometimes we get hung up in there and that’s where they got their goal,” he said.
“Too many touches, lost the ball and they get a quick counter out of it. Just a couple little things, but I think we’re playing the best soccer we’ve played thus far.”
The Generals play Northwest Wednesday, followed by games with Otero and Trinidad State Friday and Saturday. Games will move back to Maier Field at the college, and the ceremony to honor Steve Maier has been moved to Wednesday between the men’s and women’s games. It was originally scheduled for Friday, but games were postponed and moved to SHS.
“It’s a very busy week, we turn right around Wednesday and then Friday, Saturday. We’re probably not going to get a ton of practice in this week, just rest days and put in a couple touches in the gym,” Albers said. “We want to keep them fresh and moving the ball quick. Fun week for them as players just playing, they don’t have to worry about practice.”