MHS regains groove at Fort Dodge’s expense
A shootout wasn’t necessary.
And there was no need for overtime either.
Shaking off any rust from a lengthy layoff, the Marshalltown boys soccer team took care of business in regulation Thursday, dispatching Fort Dodge 5-1 in a Central Iowa Conference Northern Division showdown at Leonard Cole Field.
Playing its first game in nine days due to a pair of postponements, the Class 3A No. 15 ranked Bobcats (8-0) had a few early kinks to work out.
Though this time, unlike their past two matches, 80 minutes was more than enough to get the job done.
“When you don’t play a game in a week, it’s tough to be ready for that game experience,” MHS coach Creighton Jenness said. “We tried to simulate it in practice last night, but we also had team pictures so it was a shortened practice.”
Despite the slow start, the Bobcats found their footing midway through the opening half, scoring twice in a 10-second span in the 23rd minute. Martin Chavarria, who tallied two goals in the match, scored his first by tracking down a deflection off Dodgers’ keeper Ethan Schwendemann. Ellis Buchwald assisted on the score, before Marshalltown quickly struck again when Austin Lovin finished off a centering pass from Alfonso Gonzalez.
While the Bobcats controlled possession early and had seven shots on goal to just one for the Dodgers in the first half, Jenness wanted his squad to be more precise with its passing.
“At the beginning of the game we were doing a pretty decent job (of reversing the field), though we were putting ourselves into the pressure instead of getting away from it,” Jenness said.
“We talked about that at halftime and did better with it in the second half.”
Chavarria sparked the Bobcats next scoring surge in the 53rd minute with some nifty dribbling and a juke past a Dodger defender before booming a shot inside the far post.
Toni Ordaz Zambrano set up the goal before tallying his own five minutes later on an excellent through ball from Gonzalez to push the margin to 4-0.
Fort Dodge (3-4) finally got on the board with 10 minutes to play when Jimmy Springer’s free kick lofted high off the left post and caromed into the net.
Marshalltown answered five minutes later when Kevin Martinez slipped through a slew of Dodger defenders to set the final margin.
“I have no idea how Kevin scored that goal,” Jenness admitted with a smile, comparing it to the Bobcats’ game-winner against Des Moines East last week.
“It was a big mess right in front of the net. I think there was three of their guys and the goalkeeper and Kevin somehow snuck between all of them and probably got a toe on it to knock it in. It was a great surprise.”
The Bobcats’ scoring total was no surprise however as they created numerous opportunities putting 15 shots on goal to Fort Dodge’s five. Kreighton Miller had four saves for the Bobcats, while Schwendeman made 10 stops for the Dodgers.
While rust has been a recent concern for the Bobcats, recovery will be an issue in the coming week where the Bobcats could play up to seven games.
The Bobcats host South Tama County in a makeup match Monday (7:30 p.m.) and Southeast Polk Tuesday (7 p.m.) before battling 10th ranked Ames on the road Friday at 7:30 p.m. Marshalltown wraps up the week at the Nevada Tournament Saturday.
“It’s going to be a tough week, though a lot of teams are trying to make up a lot of games too. Our depth will be key for us,” said Jenness.
“If we keep the possession and keep swinging the ball, we’re going to continue to find plenty of scoring chances.”
Marshalltown’s last two games extended past regulation including a 3-2 double overtime win over Des Moines East and a 1-0 (5-4) triumph in penalty kicks against then Class 2A No. 5 ranked Webster City at the Hudson Tournament April 13. … Martin Chavarria raised his season total to nine goals. … The MHS junior varsity squad prevailed 3-2.