Bobcats get their kicks
Marshalltown boys soccer beats Hoover, host Nevada for tournament title
NEVADA — The Bobcats came to win. Turns out, the Marshalltown boys’ soccer team got exactly what it wanted from the Nevada Soccer Invitational Saturday at Nevada High School.
The Bobcats topped Des Moines Hoover 2-1 in the opening game of competition, and then came back in the first-place game with a second-half goal that was enough to best host Nevada 1-0 to win the tournament. Nevada used two goals early in the second half to beat Class 1A No. 2 Iowa City Regina 2-0 in the second semifinal game.
Hoover and Regina went to penalty kicks in the third-place game after playing a scoreless regulation plus two overtimes, and the Huskies topped the Regals 4-3 in the PKs.
“Wins,” said Bobcat coach Chris Fuchsen of what the Bobcats were looking for with a smile, “to build that momentum for this final stretch. Three games left now before postseason starts. It’s a good momentum builder. They’re feeling good now. Emotions are high.”
The three goals of the opening match were all recorded in the first 6 minutes, 43 seconds. A foul by Hoover’s Bonito Ndayishimiye in the penalty area less than two minutes into the contest resulted in a penalty kick for the Bobcats (5-7). Jose Torres beat Hoover goalkeeper Irvin Hernandez on penalty kicks to put Marshalltown up 1-0.
The Huskies (4-8) notched the equalizer in the fifth on a score from Aye So. There was no hesitation to take the lead back by the Bobcats as Torres set up Toni Angel for a 2-1 lead in the seventh round.
Ricky Ibarra, playing the role of goal stopper for the Bobcats in place of Alec Reynolds, made three saves against Hoover. However, he spent the final 6:59 on the bench after being issued a yellow card for stalling with the ball after the official had warned him earlier in the match to not try to waste time. Omar Alviso replaced Ibarra in goal, and had a save after punching away a Hoover shot in the 58th. The Huskies had four corner kicks in the final two minutes of the opening match as the Bobcat defense turned away every scoring attempt that came from them.
“It’s huge for the attitude,” Fuchsen said of picking up the two wins. “We got lucky in that first game. I think that PK probably wasn’t a PK, but they got it and put it away. Then we limited Hoover’s opportunities in the second half, because (the Huskies) actually dominated the second half I thought. But we got the win, and the opportunity to play in a championship, that’s what you want to put yourself in position for.”
Scoring chances were few and far between against the Cubs (6-8) in the title game. Torres had an on point shot in the second minute that was stopped by Nevada goalkeeper AJ Strottman. Angel had a shot that was just wide of the goal in the 32nd, and Torres took a try on a free kick from about 38 yards out in the 38th, but the scoreboard remained motionless through the first 43 minutes and 18 seconds.
Finally in the 44th, Austin Shomo from the left side sent a pass to Samuel Estrada moving toward the middle. Estrada deked by a Nevada defender and fired a shot that found the left side of the goal. Estrada took off in a full sprint toward the Marshalltown bench in celebration.
“That’s part of the composure and being able to control the ball, to be able to be persistent and create opportunities,” Fuchsen said. “That’s really what that one was. It was Sammy being persistent. You saw the hunger come out of Sammy right there. He took advantage of it, and you could see it in how he celebrated, he really wanted it.”
Estrada saw an opportunity in the 50th to double the lead, but his attempt was denied. Bobcat defender Nick Summers was issued a yellow card in the 53rd resulted in a Nevada free kick from the left side just outside the attacking 18-yard box. Ibarra made a leaping save off the attempt to preserve the clean sheet, but importantly, preserve the win.
The Bobcats were without some key components of the roster Saturday due to various commitments, which allowed even younger Bobcats the opportunity to experience what it’s like to earn some wins in a very competitive environment. Fuchsen said for whatever reason the Bobcats are starting to be more comfortable with the ball as opposed to earlier in the season. He wasn’t sure if it was the Bobcats not being comfortable with each other to begin the year or if it was something else, but he said this is the time of year a team wants to see positives, and that’s what the Bobcats are seeing.
“It’s a small tournament, but you still have to have that attitude going for a championship,” Fuchsen said. “To get some minutes on them, you know, Josh Martinez came in and played excellent filling in at left back. Played well. That was encouraging to see. Building that confidence a little bit more.
“Now is the time where you really want to see what we’ve been working come to life on the pitch. I think we’re seeing that, but still, more opportunities to get better and tighten up the ship. The main thing coming out of this, two wins against decent programs, and main thing, making sure these guys are smiling going into the postseason.”
The Bobcats have Senior Night Monday, hosting Class 3A No. 12 Johnston at Leonard Cole Field.
Nevada Soccer Invitational
Marshalltown 2, Des Moines Hoover 1
Nevada 2, Iowa City Regina 0
Hoover 1, Iowa City Regina 0 (4-3 PKs)
Marshalltown 1, Nevada 0
MHS — Jose Torres, MHS, 2:02.
DMH — Aye So, 4:31.
MHS — Toni Angel (Torres), 6:43.
Goalkeepers — DMH: Irvin Hernandez (4 shots on goal, 2 saves); MHS: Ricky Ibarra (4-3), Omar Alviso (1-1).
Shots — DMH 8, MHS 6.
Shots on goal — DMH 5, MHS 4.
Fouls — DMH 13, MHS 8.
Corner kicks — DMH 4.
Yellow Cards — Aye So, DMH, 51:41; Ricky Ibarra, MHS, 53:01.
Marshalltown 1, Nevada 0
MHS — Samuel Estrada (Austin Shomo), 43:18.
Goalkeepers — NEV: AJ Strottman (6 shots on goal, 5 saves); MHS: Ricky Ibarra (3-3).
Shots — NEV 4, MHS 15.
Shots on goal — NEV 3, MHS 6.
Fouls — NEV 4, MHS 9.
Corner kicks — MHS 1.
Yellow Cards — Nick Summers, MHS, 52:04; Michael Morales, MHS, 59:31.