Late goals lift No. 14 MCC over No. 5 Indian Hills, 2-1
Wednesday’s matchup between the NJCAA No. 14 Marshalltown Community College and No. 5 Indian Hills Community College soccer teams was as tight as one would expect a game between two of the best teams in the ICCAC.
The two squads duked it out in the first half, both fighting to gain any traction offensively, and with less than 10 minutes before the halftime buzzer the Warriors gained a 1-0 advantage off a goal from Akean Shackleford, the leading scorer in the ICCAC.
It would remain a 1-0 Indian Hills lead until deep into the second half, when Tigers freshman Rafael Vacas found the back of the net for an equalizer with 17 minutes left in the game. Less than 12 minutes later, sophomore Roger De la Villa scored the go-ahead goal for MCC off a pass from Kino Ryosuke and the Tigers came away with a 2-1 victory.
After the win, De la Villa said he was just following the play on his game-winning goal and things kind of fell in his lap.
“There were just like four or five minutes until the end of the game, so I was just thinking I needed to make a run like coach said, and I had the opportunity to be there when Kino passed that ball and I just put it in and I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Vacas, translated by De la Villa, said on his game-tying goal he was looking to give the Tigers a chance to come out on top.
“We needed to win that game and I thought if we got the tie we could win the game and that’s what happened,” Vacas said.
MCC (11-1, 6-1) started the second half with a couple of scoring chances that fell short, but each one of those failures led to the ultimate success for the Tigers late in the game. Interim head coach Chris Fuchsen said at the half they talked about capitalizing on opportunities and ultimately it was the Tigers’ quickness that broke down the Warriors (12-2, 6-1) defense.
“We saw some things at halftime from the first half that we pointed out to try to loosen them up,” Fuchsen said. “They were playing really compact and we were able to use our speed up top, we’ve got some guys that can just run. I think that’s what loosened them up and allowed us to play a little more and keep our heads up.”
Warriors head coach Jon Fridal said he wasn’t happy with how his guys gave up the final two goals.
“You know, you cut corners and you let a good team take advantage of it, and we weren’t very disciplined, so that’s what happened,” Fridal said. “We just made some poor choices on the defensive half and a good team will take advantage of that.”
Both teams played exceptionally in the match, particularly on the defensive end. Both squads only had 12 shots on goal, while Tigers goalie Juan Gonzalez had four saves and Warriors keeper Ross Dalton had six shots.
Fuchsen said the way his defense held the Warriors and Shackleford — who has 27 goals on the season — to just one score was outstanding.
“Juan Gonzalez, oh my God, he came up with how many big saves in the defense back there? That showed a lot of heart,” Fuchsen said. “There’s a lot that goes in to being able to knock off the No. 5 team in the nation.”
Ryosuke, the second-leading scorer in the ICCAC, didn’t get a goal of his own in the win but he did a great job facilitating the offense throughout the matchup. Fuchsen said this win over Indian Hills proves that the Tigers are much more than the scoring machine that is Ryosuke.
“Everyone respects Kino, but we understand that we have players around him that can play,” he said. “We showed that today.”
De la Villa, who has seen his role increase on the offensive end as the season has progressed, said the reason his team was able to pull out the victory was pure determination.
“We deserved the win, we started behind in the score but we kept going and kept going and work got us that victory,” he said.
Watching his guys fight back from behind, something the Tigers haven’t had to do much of this season, was heartwarming for Fuchsen, and he said seeing that level of effort from the team proves just what they can achieve this season.
“It’s not easy battling back from being down one,” he said. “Having the courage to fight and get that equalizer and press on and eventually get the game winner, that’s just passion and dedication, all those words that describe a champion.”
With the win, Marshalltown now takes over as the top team in the ICCAC, with a home match against Northeast Community College and an away meeting with No. 12 Iowa Western set for next week.
Fuchsen said winning this conference, a conference that features three of the top-15 teams in the nation, would be great for the Tigers’ postseason aspirations.
“Going into Saturday, if we can stay focus and get another win and close out the season with Western, that’s all about seeding,” Fuchsen said. “There’s definitely three teams in this conference that really take ownership, but then you can’t take Iowa Central or (Iowa) Lakes lightly as well, and that’s what’s great about this conference.”
Don’t think MCC is too focused on the playoffs just yet though, as De la Villa said the team worries more about the task at hand than they do about what might happen in the future.
“We think game-by-game, that was the game of today and we are really happy we got the victory so now we are thinking about Northeast and Western, but the first step is Northeast and we are ready for that,” he said.
Marshalltown CC 2, Indian Hills CC 1
IHCC 1 0 — 1
MCC 0 2 — 2
IHCC — Akean Shackleford (Theodoro Barros di Piero), 35:40.
MCC — Rafael Vacas, 72:55.
MCC — Roger De la Villa (Kino Ryosuke), 84:30.
Goalkeepers — IHCC: Ross Dalton (8 shots on goal-6 saves); MCC: Juan Gonzalez (5-4).
Shots — IHCC 12, MCC 12.
Shots on goal — IHCC 6, MCC 8.
Fouls — IHCC 11, MCC 10.
Corner kicks — IHCC 7, MCC 2.
Yellow cards — Craig Brand, IHCC, 30:55; Bruno Osorio, MCC, 61:41; Wilson Barahona, IHCC, 77:22; Juan Gonzalez, MCC, 85:43.