ZACHARY – Two goals from Jacob Agazzi helped Zachary complete a 3-1 victory over Live Oak Monday night.
The Broncos finished with 17 shots, 14 more than Live Oak’s and placed eight of them on target.
Just one of the Eagles shots fell on goal.
“Zachary’s a good team,” Live Oak coach Zack Miller conceded. “They defended us well and we didn’t handle the pressure well.”
After 30 minutes of taking shots after shots with nothing to show for it, Zachary took a lead when Tanner Hall laid into a first-time shot inside the box with just enough pace to burn it past the keeper.
“Our team has struggled all year long to produce goals,” Zachary coach Adam Fevella said. “So, going up early is always good for us. It produced a lot of swagger going forward.”
“I was just happy to take the lead,” said Agazzi, who scored two goals. “That would have been bad if we tied, because we dominated.”
Their initial lead would be short-lived.
Zachary’s starter in goal, Riley Porter, came down with a leg injury on the following Live Oak attack. The Eagles capitalized with two straight corners with the latter producing a scrum in front of the goal where a Live Oak player was able to get enough of a clean touch on the ball, bouncing it into the net for a 1-1 deadlock.
“We can’t rely on (that),” Miller said. “I don’t want to call it fluky because that’s something that we work on: driving the ball to the near post and creating chaos. They had a backup keeper and that’s when the blood’s in the water. That’s when we need to strike. That’s what happens but we don’t create enough of that.”
Live Oak’s Christian Fritz said: “We knew he was hurt so we wanted to test him a little bit. But it did feel like the momentum did swing our way a little bit.”
Live Oak wanted to press the issue and try to ride the momentum and squeeze out a second goal before the halftime whistle blew.
The break allowed Zachary to regain its composure and return to the field confident and in control, while Live Oak had trouble jump-starting its offense.
“We stress the first five minutes after every goal,” Miller said. “Whether we score or give up a goal, we focus on the five minutes after and how we respond. We don’t let off the gas when we score, and we don’t hang our heads when we let a goal in.”
After a dominant first half, Fevella believed his team kept Live Oak’s hopes alive.
“It should have been all us,” he said. “And then we gave them a little glimmer of hope and let them into the game.”
Agazzi gave Zachary the lead back after halftime with a sharp first touch in the box. He got a nice jump on the through ball from Chandler Hastings and beat the Eagles backline.
Agazzi later secured his brace in the latter moments of the match when he was tripped in the box and was awarded with a penalty.
“I knew the defender was going to come in because I was in front of him,” Agazzi said. “I just took my touch with my right foot. I knew the keeper would go to my right because I showed him that way. I just put him across…I was trying to throw the keeper off. I would have usually curved that out, but I saw a gap between the defenders, so I just hit it hard into the bottom right.”