By Allison Graham
Jerry Lowe rotates on the ball right before he attempts a goal for the Trojans on Thursday April 17.
Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham
As any Trojan fan knows, there is no love loss between South Tama and Grinnell. This long-standing rivalry translated to the soccer field on Thursday April 17 when the Trojans took on the Tigers on the Trojan home field. The last time these two teams met was at a playoffs game last season. The Trojans won that game with a score of 3-2. The vibe on the field this year was that of retribution as the Tigers sought to avenge last season's close loss. Unfortunately for the Tigers STC, despite a rocky start to the season, found their groove and never let Grinnell get established.
Starting for the Trojans were John Corral, Santiago Villafana, Fransico Rivera, James Lares, Lansana Mohr, Jerry Lowe, Alex Martinez, Adrian Castanon and Jose Alcazar.
The Trojans took the wind in the first half of play. It was 50 degrees with a breeze out of the northwest. STC came out aggressive in the opening minutes with several shots on the goal. At 22:20 it was STC's leading scorer and record holder Castanon that put the Trojans on the board 1-0. A few minutes later the Tigers almost scored but were blocked by keeper, Perez.
Just before the halftime whistle sounded the Trojans got a huge boost from mid-fielder Alcazar as he nailed a free kick that gave STC a 2-0 advantage. Coach Shklyarov praised the junior midfielder stating, "Alcazar usually doesn't play defense at midfield, he played defense at midfield today, he was covered in the defense, he made a lot of tackles and he scored a goal from his free kick".
Starting the second half the Trojans were now with the wind. Grinnell came out of the half with intensity as they increased their offensive drives and challenged the Trojan defense. Fortunately the STC defense held strong and kept Grinnell from converting any of their early second half attempts. The Trojans were quick to get the ball back to their end of the field. Mohr broke away from the pack sending a pass to Lowe who was just shy of the goal to the right. While the junior forward Mohr may not see the back of the net quite as often as his offensive counterparts; he has an important role on the team. "I would like to make sure that Lance (Lansana) gets credit for what he is doing, he is not scoring but he is pushing the team forward really well", said head coach Dmitriy Shklyarov.
Grinnell took the ball back down the field. South Tama fans held their breath as Grinnell's Seth Signs took an open shot that barely missed left of the STC goal.
With 28:13 on the clock a yellow card was issued to Coach Dmitriy Shklyarov as a STC player had on an illegal piece of jewelry. This sent Rivera to the bench for 10 minutes. Ruben Fuentes took his place in the game. Grinnell's Josh Hoffmann and an opportunity to score with a free kick at 21:40 but missed. After a yellow card was issued to Joel Baumann of Grinnell, Martinez shot a free kick but missed.
With 11 minutes remaining STC switched keepers and Corral took his turn for the Trojans. A minute later Signs came in on the right and put a point on the board for Grinnell. Five minutes went by with no score for either team. Then Castanon with a fire in his legs broke away down the field. Castanon took a shot, which was deflected by Grinnell's keeper. He then spun around to find the ball in the right place at the right time and punched it in for a South Tama goal. The Trojans weren't done there though. With less than two minutes remaining Lowe added STC's fourth point with a shot on the left. South Tama went on to win the game 4-1.
To sum up the day Coach Shklyarov said, "Adrian is the leading scorer and he usually tries to do things himself but he now has really good help with Lance". Shklyarov indicated that Lowe showed improvement in this game, stating, "He played defense very acurately. What I would like to say is that I see that they start to do more things that benefit the team as a hole rather than just play for themselves".
The Trojans will be taking on some tough opponents in the coming weeks. Shkylarov implied that it will be a challenge but right now the team is celebrating. "It's a great feeling because usually this team has problems with responsibility issues but today it was all good, they really wanted to win", said Shkylarov.