FREDERICKSBURG - It took less than two minutes for the promise of this Northern Lebanon boys soccer season to feel fulfilled.
Firing the ball off his right foot and then inside the far post, Vikings forward Rodrigo Urreta sent a goal through and seemingly, for a moment, a new program era and early-season statement along with it.
But some things take time and even more stay the same. Namely, Annville-Cleona contending like a top club in Lebanon County. And even after sustaining significant graduation losses up front, the Little Dutchmen were quick to answer Urreta and then remind the upstart Vikings of that unchanged fact.
Eli Setlock netted two goals for the second straight game and Annville-Cleona rolled to a 4-1 road win Wednesday night, improving its season mark to 3-0. Setlock provided a tying goal less than three minutes after Urreta's strike and then an insurance score midway through the second half. Through three games, the Little Dutchmen have totaled 11 goals and surrendered just one.
"We're just trying to stay consistent with our runs," Setlock said of the offense. "And tonight it was getting the ball in the corners. There was a lot of room in the corners, and we wanted to keep the pressure on them."
Stanley Miller, lost to injury last season, provided the game-winning goal from the doorstep at 0:24 left in the opening half. Then, led by Setlock, the Little Dutchmen kept applying their desired pressure, largely pinning Northern Lebanon inside its own end after the Vikes' sizzling start had long dissipated.
"That's what we wanted to do, was get out quickly like that. But then we started allowing things to develop, not mark our men and let the ball get in the corners," first-year Vikings coach Mark Hubbard said. "I think they're starting to change their mentality, but it's going to take time."
Annville-Cleona's Josh Malloy, afforded ample space and time inside the box, provided the final tally at 15:34 to go.
Malloy's coach, long-time Dutchmen headman Ray Kreiser, also eyed improvement from the Vikings sideline.
"I thought they played a great game. They really stepped it up and were much improved from last year. It was a fast-paced game. For a while there I thought we were on turf," he laughed.
And yet in a way they were; their own turf. For while the stadium stands as a proud home of the Vikings, this pitch rivalry still firmly belongs to the red and white.