By the time he came out to warm up for the second half, Swingle and his teammates were not in a joking mood. It was time for the Bobcats to get down to work.
After trailing for much of the first half, Battlefield was white-hot in the second half and Swingle was the Bobcats’ one-man wrecking crew in a 14-2 win. The senior attackman scored four of his team’s five goals in the third quarter and assisted on the fifth, ballooning Battlefield’s 4-2 halftime lead into a 9-2 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
“We definitely came out slow. We took them a little bit lightly probably, to say the least,” Swingle said. “We definitely had more of a feeling like we had to get started [in the second half]. The beginning of the game, we were goofing around too much probably, but we’re a laid back team,” he added.
The win kept alive Battlefield’s undefeated season, a stretch that has lately included mostly lopsided victories over the Cedar Run District. The Bobcats (10-0, 7-0 AAA Cedar Run) have held opponents to three goals or fewer in five of their past six games while averaging more than 13 goals over that same stretch. Against Freedom South-Riding (6-4, 4-3), Battlefield didn’t allow a goal in the second half.
Battlefield has scored double-digit goals in all but three games and has allowed just one local opponent, Westfield, more than five goals.
By the game’s final horn Thursday night, Swingle had tallied an assist and a game-high six goals. Fellow Battlefield senior Michael Hanlon had four goals. Eagles goalie Chris Peters had a better night than the final score would suggest, making 17 saves.
To keep his team loose throughout the season, Battlefield Coach Kevin Marsh has encouraged his team to adopt a more fun-loving personality with themed practices like Friday’s “best shorts” day.
To keep his team dialed in, Marsh has continuously introduced new wrinkles into his team’s offense with the hope that when the postseason rolls around, his team will be ready to face tougher Northern Region foes.
Thursday night, Marsh’s wrinkle was to have his usual scorers, players such as Swingle and Hanlon, distribute more and give his midfielders a chance to work on their scoring. When that game plan fizzled against the Eagles’ zone defense in the first half, Marsh turned his offensive weapons loose.
“We came out with more fire. We came out with a purpose to get on a run,” Swingle said.
“We like to keep our foot on the gas, and when they feed me the ball I need to finish. That’s my job.”