Once the Bobcats found their footing and their target, they found their way back into the win column again.
The Class 3A No. 11-ranked Marshalltown boys' soccer squad scored at will in the second half, as Mi Reh notched a hat trick in a 7-1 rout of Mason City in Thursday's Central Iowa Conference Northern Division match on a slippery Leonard Cole Field.
Two nights after suffering its first loss of the season, Marshalltown (12-1, 2-0) started slowly after the day's rain left less than ideal footing for the two conference soccer foes. The adverse conditions leant themselves to a closer contest - at the onset, anyway.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Marshalltown forward Mi Reh (10) fires a left-footed shot on net for his first of three goals during the Class 3A No. 11 Bobcats’ 7-1 pasting of Mason City Thursday night at Leonard Cole Field.
After 3A's state-leading scorer Martin Chavarria gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute, Mason City managed to answer on a free kick by Miguel Racinos from 25 yards out.
Chavarria caught up to a long lead pass by Alex Diaz and rifled a shot off the right post and in, giving him 16 tallies on the season, but the junior was then whistled for a yellow card moments after play resumed.
The winless Mohawks (0-10, 0-2) responded on Racinos' perfectly placed direct kick, just out of the reach of MHS goalkeeper Eli Devine, but it was the last good scoring chance Mason City had.
Marshalltown 7, Mason City 1
MHS - Martin Chavarria (Alex Diaz), 10:20.
MC - Miguel Recinos, 14:22.
MHS - Mi Reh (Ellis Buchwald), 23:50.
MHS - Toni Ordaz-Zambrano (David Gomez), 43:41.
MHS - Gomez (Ordaz-Zambrano), 44:30.
MHS - Ordaz-Zambrano (Reh), 53:01.
MHS - Reh (Ordaz-Zambrano), 59:46.
MHS - Reh, 67:07.
Goalkeepers - MC: Kendall Cole (21 shots on goal-14 saves); MHS: Eli Devine (4-3).
Fouls - MC 3, MHS 9.
Corner Kicks - MC 3, MHS 5.
Yellow Cards - Chavarria, MHS, 14:34; Blair Van Staalduine, MHS, 79:44.
Reh netted his first of three goals with 16:10 left to play in the first half, converting an Ellis Buchwald pass into a shot inside the far post for a 2-1 Bobcat advantage.
Mason City goalkeeper Kendall Cole faced a firing squad in the second half. He finished with five saves but the Bobcats chalked up five goals despite Chavarria sitting the final 65 minutes of the match.
"Martin has proven he can score goals, he's got the most goals in the state, and we scored six times without him," said MHS coach Creighton Jenness. "We got a couple more guys in the scorebook."
Toni Ordaz-Zambrano had two goals and two assists in the second half, Reh scored twice, and David Gomez had a goal and an assist as he broke down the Mohawk defense sometimes by himself. Three of the five goals came on headers, one for each of the Bobcats who scored.
Ordaz-Zambrano scored at the 43:41 mark, set up by a creative up-and-over pass from Gomez, and then assisted on Gomez's goal 49 seconds later with his corner kick.
After a long shot from Reh squirted loose from Cole's grip, Ordaz-Zambrano barely beat the keeper to the rebound and poked it into the back of the net for a 5-1 lead. The same hustle led to an assist for Ordaz-Zambrano in the 60th minute as he chased down a pass into the corner and centered it, and Reh redirected it with his head for a 6-1 advantage.
Reh finished off the Mohawks with his third goal at the 67:07 mark, making good on a 20-yard opportunity that was above Cole's outstretched fingers and under the crossbar.
"I thought the guys who normally start on the bench played outstanding," Jenness said. "We did a majority of our scoring in the second half. Toni had two goals and two assists, and you can't ask for anything more as a coach."
The victory means Marshalltown's regular season finale - now a make-up game at Ames on May 17 - will decide the Northern Division champion.
But the Bobcats don't have time to look that far ahead, as they make their return to the pitch today at 4:45 p.m. against Des Moines Roosevelt (7-4) at the James W Cownie Soccer Park. This marks the fourth game in five days for MHS.
"Like I've said before, we just have to concentrate on what our team needs to do," Jenness added. "If we keep possessing the ball like we have been and doing that well, we will be fine."