Glenelg boys soccer coach John Bouman said he had no problem getting his team psyched up for unbeaten Atholton yesterday.
"They were so eager I had to get them psyched down," Bouman said.
That eagerness translated into two early goals and a 2-0 victory over the visiting fourth-ranked Raiders (5-1-1, 1-1).
Glenelg (7-0, 2-0), which has never made it to the regional playoffs, has been slow to earn its due respect from the established county soccer powers. But yesterday's win left no doubt the eighth-ranked Gladiators belong with the best.
"I was very impressed with the way Glenelg played," Atholton coach Reg Hahne said. "It was a humbling experience for us."
Glenelg attacked aggressively, won balls in the air and on the ground and defensively cleared everything Atholton fired at it.
Glenelg goalkeeper Russell Payne made five saves, including three difficult ones.
"Russell looked terrific," Bouman said.
Atholton tried to attack with long kicks over the midfield, but Glenelg's back line of Keever Frye, Tom Hobbs, Marc Rey and Jamie Brinker cleared those kicks consistently.
Speedy striker Chris Vaccari scored Glenelg's first goal seven minutes into the game.
Vaccari gathered a long header from Glenelg midfielder Scott Cline, raced past an Atholton defender and took a shot from 15 yards away that glanced off the legs of diving Atholton goalkeeper Josh Seidman at the 10-yard line. The ball rolled into the net for Vaccari's first goal of the year.
Atholton nearly tied the game two minutes after Glenelg's goal. A throw-in by Jeff May was headed in by Brian Yankle, but a penalty for pushing the goalkeeper nullified the score.
In the 17th minute of the first half, Glenelg made it 2-0, after Chris Schaefer kicked in a loose ball at the one-foot line. Seidman was again out of the net, and several Atholton players failed to clear the ball past Schaefer despite two attempts.
"They out-hustled us early in the game and by the time we picked it up they had two goals," said Atholton defenseman Alex Denno.
Payne made two good saves in the first eight minutes of the second half, when Atholton's attack was most aggressive.
Ten minutes into the second half, Seidman made his best play of the day by stopping a four-on-one break.
Bouman said: "It doesn't bother me that we don't get any respect. We're out here to have fun."