More often than not, when two soccer teams appear to be evenly matched, the result comes down to which team can make fewer mistakes and take advantage of its opportunities.
That was certainly the case between South Charleston and Capital on Wednesday as the Black Eagles, ranked No. 8 in Class AAA this week, defeated the visiting Cougars 3-0.
Capital coach Bradford Clark said during the run of play he thought his team played extremely well, but the Cougars showed a weakness defending the set pieces that ultimately cost them.
"South Charleston made the most of their opportunities and we didn't," he said. "They scored on three set pieces. What we're doing when we are playing isn't bad. The set pieces - it's something that is hurting us. That's what we're going to work on in practice."
The two teams played an even game through most of the first half with Capital dominating the early possession and South Charleston (9-3-1) taking charge closer to the break.
The Black Eagles were finally able to penetrate the Cougar defense in the 33rd minute when Isaac Cosby found Kewsi Wilkerson in the penalty area with a throw in. Wilkerson was able to get his head on the ball and beat goalkeeper Nathan Altman to open the scoring.
SC did not waste any time on its second goal. Four minutes after the first goal, SC's Chris Brown struck a corner kick from the right side that Rashad Kincaid was able to poke through several Capital defenders to give the Black Eagles a 2-0 lead just before the half.
"If it stays 0-0 at the half anything can happen," South Charleston coach Ronnie Means said. "You never know how you're going to start a second half, and sometimes we've had trouble getting out of the gates in the second half. We got the two goals back-to-back and that gave us a little comfort. When we get goals like that we get fired up and start playing a little better."
In the second half the teams again appeared even in possession with both goalkeepers having to make saves. Capital had several more opportunities to score but could not get out of its own way with offsides calls going against the Cougars several times deep in South Charleston's half of the field.
The Black Eagles put the finishing touches on the contest in the 73rd minute when Brown, who earlier had the assist from the corner on Kincaid's goal, lined up to take a free kick from just outside the penalty area on the right side.