Second-half goal enough for Bobcat triumph
DES MOINES – The Marshalltown girls’ soccer team has already surpassed last year’s win total. Every victory the rest of the way will just continue to send the program in a positive direction.
The positive path continued Monday on the road as junior Lexi Vaughn’s goal in the 45th minute sent the Bobcats past Des Moines East, 1-0, at Cownie Soccer Complex.
“I am happy we were able to score there. We should have had more chances, but we played OK,” MHS coach Allie Osmundson said. “We didn’t quite play to our level and played down to their level and I thought we could have played quicker, but I was happy with the win.”
The two teams played to a scoreless draw in the first half, but it took Marshalltown (5-1) just 5 minutes into the second half to grab an advantage. And it was a lead the Bobcats would not give up.
Vaughn was in the right place at the right time for the game-winner. MHS junior Morgan Gardalen had created an opportunity for the Bobcats inside the Des Moines East box but was tackled just in front of the net by Tal Neilly. Gardalen though got a foot on the ball, which allowed Vaughn to come in from the backside and score off the deflection.
“Morgan was being aggressive and going for the ball,” Osmundson said. “It looked like her shot ricocheted off the goalie. And Lexi was right there and we always talk about that. You never know when the goalie will drop the ball. I am glad she was there and able to follow it up.”
These same two teams faced off at the Southeast Polk Invitational and the Bobcats won in penalty kicks. The two evenly matched teams went 140 minutes of game time without a goal before Vaughn ended that streak early in the second half.
“We just looked slow in the first half,” Osmundson said. “I don’t know if we weren’t ready to play, but we just seemed a step slow today. When we lost possession of the ball, we were slow to get the ball back and then we just moved it too slow and turned it over too much.”
Marshalltown outshot Des Moines East 11-5 and five of those shots were on goal. Junior goalkeeper Amanda Hughes stopped seven shots in net to earn the shutout. Christina Syhavong saved four shots in the loss.
There was no scoreboard on field No. 12 at Cownie Soccer Complex, which can make the match that much more intense. The coaches and officials keep track of the time but the players on the field are essentially clueless to how much time is left in the match.
In a 1-0 game, things can get pretty intense and nerve-racking.
“It is harder because when you can see the time, you know when to pick up the pace,” Osmundson said. “It’s hard mentally because in the final five minutes they can go harder because they know they are getting a break soon. But with no clock, they are on cruise control because they have no idea when the break will come.”
It’s hard not to be happy with the Bobcats’ start through six games. The only loss was a 4-3 defeat to Class 2A No. 8 Pella, and that one could have easily been a win.
Osmundson likes the way her team has played and is especially pleased with how much value the Bobcats have put on possessing the ball.
“We are doing really well. We discovered if you really do keep the ball and possess the ball that it is much more fun because you have the ball and it is less tiring too,” the second-year MHS coach said. “They’ve bought into what we want to do. They realized that that really works. We are much more confident, too.”
Marshalltown will try to get to 6-1 on the year when it travels to South Tama County on Friday. First touch in that match is scheduled for 6:15 p.m.
Marshalltown had three corner kicks to East’s three and also committed five fouls to East’s one. The Scarlets were given two yellow cards in the match. Junior Paige Larson was issued one when the official discovered she was wearing earrings. She tried to cover them up with a headband. Larson, who is regarded as the Scarlets’ best player, sat out the 10 minutes for the yellow card but did not return to the match because she did not want to take the earrings out. East coach Guy Kesavadhana also was given a yellow card for the illegal attire.