PLEASANT HILL — Offensively, Newton’s Cardinal boys are struggling on the soccer field. They suffered their third straight shutout Friday, losing 4-0 to host Southeast Polk’s Rams.
“We have a lot of young players at the varsity level this year. It is a huge learning curve for us out there,” Cardinal head coach Sackda Viravong said.
“One of the areas we need to develop is moving without the ball. We moved pretty well with the ball in the first half Friday but we didn’t score. Our guys have to know they have to continue to move even when they don’t have the ball, so they are in position for an attack.”
Viravong said he was pleased with the way the Cardinals defensive players have performed so far this season. Sophomore Griffin Engel has stepped into the starting goalkeeper role. Engel had 10 saves against Southeast Polk Friday, bringing his total for four games to 30 while giving up just eight goals.
“Griffin is doing well for us and our defensive corps has played well but we need help from the offensive guys. We have to keep the ball on the attacking side of the field more,” Viravong said.
He said they moved senior Chandler Sturtz to center midfielder to help control the tempo of the game and distribute the ball to the outside forwards. Junior Jackson Forck was moved to the center defender spot and freshman Jordan Norvel got his first varsity start as a defender.
Viravong said they are shuffling the line up a round trying to find the right combination of players for the varsity. The Cardinals need to develop as a team, he said.
“We don’t have a lot of players who play have played soccer together. The team lost a lot of seniors from last year so we’re finding ourselves early in the season,” Viravong said. “We’re defining our focus on the field, which is to work hard and be more creative with our ball movement. That will allow us to attack and score.”
Newton is 1-3 overall. The Cardinals take a 0-1 Little Hawkeye Conference record into Tuesday’s home conference game against Pella Christian. Game time is 7 p.m. for the varsity at H.A. Lynn Stadium.