It was a clear, sunny day with a temperature of 76 degrees and a light wind out of the south as the STC Trojans challenged the Marshalltown Bobcats at the Trojan's home field on Friday April 25. The Bobcats are ranked 10th in 3A and are 9-1 on the 2014 season.
Starting for the Trojans were Francisco Rivera, Luis Perez, James Lares, Lansana Mohr, Jerry Lowe, Alex Martinez, Adrian Castanon, Jose Alcazar, Victor Chavez, Andres Rodriguez and Ruben Fuentes.
The tone was set early on the in the game as both teams came out with a high intensity, physical style of play. Both sides battled hard in the early going as several of the first half scoring opportunities came from free kicks. Marshalltown's David Gomez got the first opportunity on a free kick that was blocked by STC's Perez with 32:45 on the clock. Martinez got his shot but was not able to connect on the free kick at 29:50.
Jerry Lowe hits the ground after scoring STC’s only goal of the game off a beautiful assist by Adrian Castanon. The Trojans fell to 10th ranked Marshalltown Bobcats on Friday April 25 at STC.
News Herald Photo/Allison Graham
With 19 minutes on the clock Marshalltown's Martin Chavarria finally broke the Trojan defense and was able to connect with the back of the net from 20 yards out. This put the Bobcats up 1-0 and gave them the edge they were looking for. Marshalltown began to control the offense, giving the Trojans fewer opportunities to drive down the field and thus fewer opportunities to score.
With another five minutes down on the clock Alcazar was fouled sending Martinez to attempt his third free kick of the game. It was again cleared by Marshalltown. Around the 13-minute mark Mohr came up limping on a sliding collision, which sent him to the bench for a breather. Fuentes switched positions bringing Santiago Villafana into the game to cover Fuentes.
Chavarria attempted to increase the Bobcat lead but was blocked by Lowe. STC's John Corral came in for Fuentes at 6:30 with Mohr returning to the game shortly after. Marshalltown had one final attempt to score in the first half but came up short due to the work of the STC defensive line. The Bobcats would take a 1-0 into the half.
STC head varsity coach Dmitriy Shklyarov noted that the tone of the game shifted after the first half. "The Trojans held the Bobcats to 0:1 in the first half, committing only one crucial mistake. In the second half we became a bit nervous and impatient while Marshalltown continued to control the rhythm, tempo, and possession of the ball."
The opening minutes of the second half saw only one scoring opportunity for the Trojans. Castanon shot high from the center but wound up just shy of the goal. After a few minutes of play, Mohr took another hard hit as he collided with Marshalltown's Chavarria. A yellow card was issued to Chavarria, which sent him to the bench for 10 minutes. Mohr briefly left the game again but would return to play before the final whistle. At 23:17 Marshalltown broke through again with a shot outside of the penalty box that put them ahead 2-0. The Trojan defense struggled to maintain composure and the Bobcats went on a scoring spree with two more goals, bringing the score to 4-0 with just under 16 minutes of play.
Looking forward, Coach Shklyarov hopes to improve his team's defense stating, "The Trojans are still in the beginning of the road that eventually will lead us to establishing a solid defense. It is not going to be easy, but I hope that in the following 11 games of the season we will figure out how we are going to do it in playoffs."
Although the score was against them, the Trojans kept pushing and were finally able to answer back on the offensive end. After several drive attempts STC's Castanon broke free from the Bobcat defenders and set up a clean shot for Lowe who was left open close to the net. Lowe punched the ball in and put South Tama on the board 4-1. Unfortunately, this would be the only goal for the Trojans as the final whistle sounded, giving Marshalltown the 4-1 victory.
Despite the loss Coach Shklyarov felt encouraged by the progress of his team saying, "The Trojans played against an opponent that, at this point of season, have been scoring five goals per game on average, and allowing much less that one goal per game on average. Last spring the South Tama team had been literally ripped apart by the Bobcats, with a score that I do not even want to remember. This year the feeling was very different. Most of the Trojans played hard, disciplined, and performed well. And at the end, on the 76th minute of the contest, Adrian Castanon mastered the perfect low cross that left Jerry Lowe against the open net, to score the goal. Creating this lone goal took a lot of effort, but visually it looked easy and elegant."
The Trojans will look to turn things around as they go on the road against the Iowa Falls-Alden Cadets on Friday May 2.