McNary takes down McDaniel in season opener

It may have taken an extra week, but Celtic boys soccer started the season with a big win on Wednesday, Sept. 6. 

The 3-1 home win against McDaniel, from Portland, comes a week after the original season opener against Century was canceled due to high heat index forecast. But one week later, the Celtics were ready to open their season.

“Starting the season with a [win] at home is huge,” head coach Miguel Camarena said. “It’s always important to see things we practice, put them in place. We missed so many goals today, but I’m excited for this season, this group of guys.”

The week-long wait for the season opener could have contributed to some of the McNary miscues. Camarena said the main thing they worked on during the extra week was mental, as the players were anxious to get on the pitch. 

Senior midfielder Owen Alston had another way to say it, and felt it showed in the next practice.

“We were all really annoyed and pissed off,” Alston said. “But we put in the work, came back, and today was gameday and we showed up.”

Alston led the way for the Celtics with two goals, both of which looked quite similar. Alston made his position in the box in front of the goal, and was in the right place at the right time to be able to poke both goals past the Wildcats keeper. 

“Honestly, I couldn’t really tell. The ball just got thrown into me and both goals were pretty much the same,” Alston said. “I just tapped it in and the goalie was just stunned.”

Alston’s fellow senior midfielder Hudson Brunk put up the first goal for McNary on a blast from 35 yards out. 

Defensively, the Celtics were stout, allowing the Wildcats to attack very little in the game. McDaniel only had two good scoring chances. 

The first, a goal off a first half corner kick set piece that was wiped off due to an offsides call, something Camarena said his team was lucky to be bailed out by. 

“We worked solidly in the back, and made two mistakes,” Camarena said.

The other opportunity for the Wildcats came in the second half on a penalty kick they cashed in. Another chance that Camarena said the Celtics gave to their opponents. At halftime, Camarena told his team he didn’t want to see any slide tackles in the box. One happened, and the Wildcats got on the board.

Two early yellow cards, one for each team in the first half, could have set the tone for a physical game, though the cards didn’t come for contact, according to Camarena.

“There were a couple plays that were very close, the kids think it was the wrong call, say something they shouldn’t say and get a yellow card,” Camarena said. 

The canceled game against Century was originally rescheduled for Monday, Sept. 12, but is no longer on the schedule. McNary is back out on the pitch Friday at Roosevelt.