By Allison Graham
Sandwiched between two Marion players is Adrian Castanon who fights for control of the ball.
News Herald Photo/Allison Graham
Monday April 7 was the season opener for the STC/EM boys soccer team. The Trojans welcomed the Marion Indians to their home field for a blustery afternoon of soccer. While the outcome of the game may not have swung in the Trojan's favor, head varsity coach Dmitriy Shklyarov noted several positive takeaways from Monday's game.
"Overall, the team showed the class and ability to win, despite some lapses in effort and discipline. Several players, newly incorporated into the squad, were still getting acclimated with their roles and positions, which is quite normal for the first game of the season. Several others, particularly first year students, such as Manuel Rangel, Andreas Rodrigues and John Corral played extremely well and earned respect from the coaching squad."
The Trojan starting lineup included: Luis Perez as a keeper, Francisco Rivera, Andreas Rodrigues, Santiago Villafana in defense, Manuel Rangel, James Lares, Jerry Lowe, Alex Martinez, Adrian Castanon in Midfield, Lansana Mah and Ruben Fuentes as Forwards.
South Tama got things rolling quickly with a goal by Mah of East Marshall at 39:50. A few minutes later Marion answered back with a goal by Enoch Duval, tying the score at 1-1.
STC looked to Castanon to handle the ball early in the first period. The junior mid-fielder held his own in the open field as he took his opponents off the dribble and through the legs a few times over the course of the match . After each team had scored, STC and Marion spent the next few minutes battling for control with neither team able to get a good shot at the goal. Marion's Justin Thompson would end the gridlock with goal off of a breakaway drive down the field. Marion's Justin Thompson ended the back and forth play and took the lead with a goal.
Castanon, a leader for the Trojan team, got things back on track with a late first half goal that would tie the score at 2-2. "The second goal scored by Adrian Castanon with assist of Alex Martinez was a career milestone for the South Tama junior, who surpassed Nate Husak, and now is officially the leading scorer in South Tama soccer history with 31 total goals", said head coach Dmitriy Shklyarov. The Trojans kept the pressure on as Lowe punched the ball in off a deflected shot from teammate Mah. The STC crowd erupted as the Trojans regained the lead as well as some momentum. However, late in the stoppage time Mah received a yellow card for an illegal hit and left the game. Lowe, who does double-duty for South Tama as a participant in both soccer and track, saw a second opportunity to score but missed wide of the goal which sent the Trojans into halftime leading the Indians with a score of 3-2. Coaches Shklyarov and Dave Chizek were extremely happy with the achievements of Alex Martinez and Jerry Lowe in the first half of the game. They both earned two assists and two goals respectively. "Scoring three goals in the first half the Trojans clearly showed that they can do well and can overplay their opponents on pure class", state Shklyarov.
Going into the second half, the weather started to take a turn for the worse as STC found themselves at a disadvantage playing against the wind that picked up since the first half. Coach Shklyarov remarked, "The second half of the game was a completely different story. I have to give a credit to the level of discipline, and dominance displayed by the Marion players. Without showing anything different in the tactical and technical aspect of the game, they stepped up in intensity and essentially changed the course of the game, scoring three goals and ultimately winning the contest."
STC made a keeper change going into the second half. With the combined factor of the blowing wind and their starting forward Mah on the bench until the 31 minute mark, STC struggled to get a rhythm going. Marion was able to capitalize at 24:45 and tied the score at three with a goal by Duval. With no one around him, Mah was about to drive up the field but was called offsides on what looked to be a potential scoring opportunity. After several missed shots Duval was able to connect with the net giving Marion a one point advantage at 4-3.
South Tama did not see the ball on their side of the field often in the second half. STC's Lowe was in transition and had a good look but unfortunately missed his shot high of the goal. "Playing without three solid starters, the Trojans definitely lacked the senior presence on the field. Halftime substitutions of the goalkeeper had been intended to help with this component, bringing highly experienced senior Luis Perez in field and placing talented freshmen John Corral in the net. Despite making several minor mistakes, and of course being nervous, John played well and cannot be blamed in any way for the loss of the contest. I would not hesitate to start him in the following games this season", said Shklyarov.
Marion scored their final point from a penalty kick with seven minutes remaining. Mah and the Trojans continued to work the ball up the field, but were met with a staunch Marion defense that kept the STC offense in check. Marion's Noah Smith received a yellow card after an illegal hit that sent Mah crashing to the ground. Martinez had the final opportunity to score for the Trojans with a penalty kick. Marion's keeper was able to block the attempt leaving Marion leaving Marion with a 5-3 victory. The Trojans will play in the Linn-Mar Tournament on Saturday April 12 at 9:00 a.m.