Hobbled Dukes Blanked On Road By Nottoway

Published 4:33 pm Thursday, May 16, 2013

NOTTOWAY – The Cumberland High School soccer roster started the season with a group of 19 healthy bodies. By the second half of Wednesday night's James River District contest at Nottoway High School, the Dukes were playing with just 10.

A man down.

It showed in the second half as Nottoway, which substituted liberally and moved players into less familiar positions, was still able to generate numerous scoring opportunities.

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Cumberland, which held its own in the first half, was unable to counter on loose balls after intermission, and had to pack its defense in the box in an attempt to run out the clock.

“Some seasons are like this where it seems every one gets hurt,” said CHS head coach Heather Sutton. “And it's not because of stupid injuries. They're hard-earned. These kids give it a hundred percent every time they take the field. We haven't been able to win like we would like, and it seems like every time we play a match, we have one or two fewer players, but they're still out there competing.

“I'm proud of them for that. It's easy to just give up, but they don't.”

The Dukes gave up a goal in the 23rd minute and one just before intermission to trail 2-0 at the break. Despite playing a man-down, Cumberland held Nottoway to three goals, though many shots were just wide or over the goal.

“I think they played it about as well as they could,” said Sutton. “They knew we were a man down. They didn't let up, and we wouldn't want them to, but they were able to have fun with it, and I respect that.”

The Dukes had a couple of good scoring opportunities turned away in the first half, including a goal that was disallowed in the eighth minute due to an offsides call.

Senior forward Alex Bapties just missed on a few chances, as well.

“We're going to miss Alex,” said Sutton. “I wish I could clone him. He's a great leader, a great player and leads through his words and how he carries himself on the field.”