MHS finds a way
The Bobcat boys’ soccer team has played in just about every kind of match you can have this season.
They have been involved in a few blowouts. They have played in a shootout and a game that went into the second overtime. And Marshalltown has played in many one- and two-goal affairs.
And no matter what has been thrown at them, the Bobcats have always found a way to win.
That trend continued Tuesday against Southeast Polk as the Bobcats broke a scoreless tie in the 64th minute thanks to a goal by Martin Chavarria. The 1-0 victory improves Class 3A No. 15 Marshalltown to 10-0 on the season.
“I told Martin when I put him back in there in the second half that this was going to be a 1-0 game and he was going to put it in,” MHS coach Creighton Jenness said. “It worked out that way.
“We have had games where we’ve scored a lot of goals. We have been in some double-overtime games. We have seen a lot of adversity. To go through what we have gone through and still pull out every game is excellent for these guys.”
The Bobcats didn’t have time to exhale after Chavarria’s goal as the Rams pushed forward looking for the equalizer.
Southeast Poik managed an impressive offensive stretch in the final minutes but couldn’t put one past MHS goalkeeper Kreighton Miller, who had eight saves in the win. The Rams’ final chance to tie ended high and wide right of the net.
But it was enough to put a scare into Jenness.
“We were scared with that last ball they missed the goal with,” he said. “(Miller) played great tonight and has been playing great lately. We need to get a little bit more shape and pressure. SE Polk kept sending balls in and putting more pressure on him. We have to fix that.”
The Bobcats controlled the first half, out-shooting the Rams 13-3, holding a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal and holding a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks.
But neither team cracked the scoreboard in the first 40 minutes.
The numbers changed in the second half for the Rams. Southeast Polk began to attack the offensive third much better and held shooting advantages over the Bobcats in the second period.
The Rams attempted more shots on offense in the first 10 minutes of the second half than they did the entire the first half. But nothing was getting by Miller on this day. It was the Bobcat junior goalie’s fifth shutout of the year.
“When a team is playing like that, they are going to get chances,” Jenness said of the Rams’ improved second half. “They just kept hitting the ball over and over and over again. But it was another great game by our squad. We bent but didn’t break and that was a good thing for us.”
It was Chavarria’s 11th goal of the season. It came on a through ball pass from Mi Reh. The Bobcats failed to convert several through ball chances before the Chavarria goal. But that is not how Jenness wants to attack his opponents.
“We want to be a possession oriented team,” he said. “We are going to have work on that and figure out a way to keep better possession of the ball.”
Marshalltown (10-0) could move up in the latest state rankings today before playing No. 10 Ames on Friday. The showdown is on the road and will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Little Cyclones (7-3) lost to No. 14 West Des Moines Valley, 4-2, on Tuesday.
“We can’t think about keeping the undefeated streak alive,” Jenness said. “That will be too much pressure to think about. We just need to play a game at a time and a half at a time. Ames ended our season last year 1-0 and I would love to be able to get them back.”
For the match, Marshalltown outshot Southeast Polk 20-15 with an 9-8 advantage in shots on goal. The Bobcats also attempted five more corner kicks as well. … Chavarria’s 11 goals leads the team by five. Alfonso Gonzalez (6), Ellis Buchwald (4) and David Gomez (3) are the other Bobcats with more than one goal. … After Friday’s showdown with Ames, the Bobcats head back down Highway 30 Saturday to the Nevada Tournament.