’Cats steal Bulldogs’ bite

MHS girls’ soccer team scores 10-0 victory on Senior Night

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Marshalltown senior Vanessa Ceren, center, is congratulated by Trinity See, left, after Ceren scored a goal to give the Bobcats a 5-0 lead against Ottumwa during the first half of Tuesday’s soccer match at Leonard Cole Field. Ceren had a goal and an assist as the Bobcats blanked the Bulldogs 10-0 in their regular-season finale.

The Senior Night festivies got an early start and never stopped — at least not until the scoreboard showed 10 goals.

The Marshalltown girls’ soccer team closed out its regular-season schedule with a lopsided win against Ottumwa, beating the Bulldogs 10-0 for the Bobcats’ first 10-goal triumph in more than three years.

Senior Kyra Long scored the game’s opening goal less than four minutes into the match, and her second-half icebreaker put the Bobcats up 9-0. Fellow senior Macy Goecke ended the contest with 22 minutes, 59 seconds still showing on the clock, sending Marshalltown (4-12) into the postseason on the heels of its first back-to-back wins in exactly three years.

“Yesterday at practice I told them seniors are going to be starting, and Kyra was kind of like, ‘do we have to?’ said MHS head coach Stacy Galema. “She hasn’t played very many games, we just pulled her up late in the season, and it’s a huge confidence boost [for her to score].”

Long’s lofting left-footer sailed just over the outstretched arms of Ottumwa’s sophomore goalkeeper Savannah Rupp and signalled the start of a surprising scoring onslaught for the Bobcats.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE • Marshalltown senior Kyra Long (14) is celebrates her first-career goal with teammates Vanessa Ceren (8) and McKenna Major, right, four minutes into Tuesday’s girls’ soccer match at Leonard Cole Field. Long had two goals in the Bobcats’ 10-0 win against Ottumwa.

Marshalltown entered the contest having scored nine goals this season. Ottumwa (2-12) had eight.

“A lot of our practices we’ve spent on offense because we know that’s our weak point,” said Galema. “We can’t hold onto the ball in the offensive end, so it was good to see that a lot of times it was different people shooting, different people taking opportunities.

“We spend at least 45 minutes every practice shooting or looking for opportunities to shoot or creating offense.”

Eight different players accounted for goals for the Bobcats, who last beat a team 10-0 on April 25, 2014 (South Tama County/East Marshall).

Ashtyn Fuller scored consecutive goals 4:30 apart after Long gave the Bobcats the early lead. Morgan Van Staalduine had a goal and two assists — all in the first half — and Vanessa Ceren had a goal and an assist before the intermission as well.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

McKenna Major made it 5-0 Marshalltown with 27:29 remaining in the first half, and Vanessa Garcia Armas’ tally took the margin to 6-0 less than 90 seconds later. It capped a stretch in which the Bobcats scored goals on four consecutive shots.

Van Staalduine and Naomi Boland both scored inside the final 10 minutes of the first half to take the Bobcats into halftime lead 8-0.

“Toward the end of the first half we got too much to goal, so we talked at halftime about possessing the ball,” Galema said. “That’s where you find your best opportunities. In the second half we tried to start controlling the ball, and from there you need to move the ball up.”

Long registered her second goal with 9:59 gone in the second half, and freshman Jade Tejada appeared to end the contest with her first career goal at the 56:30 mark. The associate referee ruled the goalkeeper had closed her hands around the ball, waving off Tejada’s apparent putback goal, but the Bobcats got the clincher moments later.

Goecke’s right-footed shot from 20 yards out tumbled at the right time and dove under Rupp’s lunging attempt to keep the game going. It skipped into the net, setting off a celebratory team hug where Goecke uncorked the shot.

T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE

It also propels the Bobcats into the postseason, where they will travel to face Class 3A No. 14 Ankeny on the Hawks’ home pitch May 31 in the Region 4 semifinals. Ankeny downed MHS 9-0 on May 5 at Leonard Cole Field, sparked by Chloee Kooker’s five goals and three assists.

“They scored six goals in the first 13 minutes, so we’ll work on slowing them down, trying to win the ball, stay in front and prevent their opportunities,” Galema said. “[Winning 10-0] is probably not helpful for next week, but it was Senior Night, they had fun and that’s all you can ask. We have until next Wednesday, so starting tomorrow we’ll gear up for it and see what happens.”

Marshalltown 10, Ottumwa 0

At Marshalltown

First Half

MHS — Kyra Long, 3:57.

MHS – Ashtyn Fuller (Vanessa Ceren), 5:24.

MHS — Fuller, 9:54.

MHS — Ceren (Morgan Van Staalduine), 11:30.

MHS — McKenna Major, 12:31.

MHS — Vanessa Garcia Armas (Van Staalduine), 14:18.

MHS — Van Staalduine, 30:30.

MHS — Naomi Boland, 36:27.

Second Half

MHS — Long (Avygail Smith), 49:59.

MHS – Macy Goecke, 57:01.

Goalkeepers — Ottumwa: Savannah Rupp (21 shots on goal-11 saves); MHS: Victoria Johnson (1-1).

Corner Kicks — MHS 4.

Fouls — Ottumwa 1, MHS 1.