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PERFECT 10: Bandel’s hat trick leads Bandys soccer past Maiden for 10-0 start

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Jacob Bandel

Bandys’ Jacob Bandel, 11, looks to make a play as Maiden’s Braeden Martin, 17, applies pressure during Wednesday’s match in Catawba. Bandel finished with three goals and two assists in the Trojans’ 8-3 win over the Blue Devils.

CATAWBA — The Bandys boys soccer team has scored goals at a torrid pace in 2022, and the Trojans showed no signs of slowing down on Wednesday night. Hosting Maiden in a key Catawba Valley 2A Conference matchup, Bandys scored four goals in each half on its way to an 8-3 victory over the Blue Devils.

Jacob Bandel scored three goals for Bandys, and he also dished out two assists. Five other players scored for the Trojans as well as they tallied at least seven goals for the seventh time this fall, although Maiden became the first team to score more than once against Bandys.

“They are a good team, we knew they were gonna be a good team,” Bandys assistant coach Danny McPherson said of Maiden. “They’ve got some strong forwards up front and we knew we were gonna be in a fight. So we got up, we kept watching and watching knowing we were gonna come back and just had to keep pressing.

“Our guys are very religious about fighting and we attack with three or four all the time, so that’s why we’ve scored so many goals this year is the way we attack,” he added. “And we knew it would come if we just kept going and kept shooting.”

After both squads missed some early opportunities, Henry Willis got Bandys (10-0, 4-0 Catawba Valley 2A) on the board in the 16th minute when he scored off a cross from Colin Miller. Then Josh Ramirez made it 2-0 with a goal in the 28th.

Maiden (6-5, 2-2) cut the deficit in half in the 30th minute when a corner kick by Zachary Beard deflected off a Trojans player and into the net. However, Bandys responded with a pair of goals late in the opening half.

A handball by Maiden in the box resulted in a penalty kick for Bandys in the 33rd minute, with Gavin Dennis putting it in. Less than two minutes later, Bandel fought through several defenders for his first goal of the night and a 4-1 halftime lead.

“They’ve always got three or four guys running forward on you,” Maiden head coach Taylor Smith said of defending Bandys. “It’s like they play that ball forward and they’ve got runners going right, left and spread up the middle. And they’re fast and they’re skilled and they’re tough to defend.”

Bandel wasted no time in registering his next goal, finding the back of the net 52 seconds into the second half. However, the Blue Devils wouldn’t go down without a fight.

After Maiden’s Christian Rodriguez was fouled by Bandys just outside of the box in the 46th minute, Michael Ly took the subsequent free kick and pounded it into the net. Another foul in the 54th saw the Blue Devils’ Nymeir Ramseur get knocked down in the box, followed by Davis Higgins placing a ball into the right side of the net for a successful PK that brought Maiden within two goals at 5-3.

But it was all Bandys from there, as CJ Schronce scored off a through ball from Bandel in the 58th minute, a corner kick by Schronce found the head of Chris Moore for a goal in the 61st and Bandel completed his hat trick in the 64th.

“It’s been coming for the last couple years,” said McPherson of Bandys’ hot start to the season. “It took a couple years to get the passing down. (Head) Coach (Ric Lester) has been here for four years now ... and it just took people to really build on his philosophy about passing and letting the ball do the work and playing as a team, not individually.

“Last year you saw we were 15-8, this year we’ve gotten off to a great start and we’re looking forward to what’s ahead,” he continued. “And we’ve got some young players out there, we’ve got a lot of seniors, a lot of them don’t start. But we have three or four freshmen out there playing a lot of the time.”

Bandys visits Newton-Conover on Monday with the top spot in the Catawba Valley 2A on the line. The Red Devils blanked West Lincoln 9-0 on the road Wednesday to improve to 6-3-1 overall and 4-0 in league play.

“It’s gonna be a battle,” said McPherson of the matchup with Newton-Conover. “We know they’re a very physical team, so the biggest thing we’ve got to do is go out and be physical. We’ve got to match up with them in physicality. We’ve got the offensive power, we’ve got a good defensive back, but we’re gonna have to be physical.

“They’re fast, we’ve got to be just as fast, and we’re going into their house and that’s always a tough place to play, so we’re looking forward to it,” he added. “But I think if we can be as physical as they are it’s gonna be a good matchup.”

On the other side, Maiden will look to snap a two-match losing streak when it travels to Bunker Hill on Monday.

“I felt like our second half was much more competitive,” said Smith of Wednesday’s contest. “I felt like we had more chances on goal and that’s the one thing I can always count on with these guys is they just do not quit, they keep rolling.

“It’s been like that with this group that I’ve had for a couple years now,” he continued. “They haven’t had the greatest win-loss, but they will fight until that whistle blows and that’s a team I love to coach.”

Josh McKinney is the sports editor for the Hickory Daily Record.

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