’Cats maintain their reign
Marshalltown boys repeat as Nevada Invitational champs
NEVADA — All season the Marshalltown boys soccer team has shown flashes of brilliance on the pitch, but head coach Chris Fuchsen has been adamant that if the guys can put everything together they will be playing some really good soccer.
Well on Saturday the Bobcats showed just what their potential is, as they dominated in every fashion for three games on their way to defending as champions of the Nevada Soccer Invitational.
MHS (7-3) wrapped up what had already been a great day with a 1-0 win over Class 1A No. 1 Iowa City Regina (9-2), a win that was much more lopsided than the final score showed.
Senior Tony Angel scored the lone goal in the 46th minute on a through pass from sophomore Jose Torres after returning to the game for the first time in the second half.
“I was trying my best because I had been hurt, so that’s why I was on the bench until I told coach to give me one more chance,” Angel said. “So he put me in for like 10 more minutes and I was trying to give it my best as long as my leg was still good. My team worked hard and we both worked hard and I was able to score a goal and win.”
Though only one goal found the back of the net for Marshalltown in the win, that was solely because of a great performance by Regal goalkeeper Josh Dutchik. The Bobcats pelted Dutchik with 17 total shots in the game, 10 of which were on goal, and Fuchsen said the whole day was just a great experience for his guys.
“It was a good chance for us to keep playing positive and we showed that throughout the whole tournament,” he said. “Being positive, scoring goals and it was a great opportunity for a lot of guys to get some minutes that haven’t as well. All around a great, positive day for us.”
Torres was actually the leader in shots with six, which matched the total goals he scored in the first two games. Torres had a hat trick in both the opening game against tournament-host Nevada (6-5) in a 4-2 victory and one in the first half in a 6-2 victory over Kuemper Catholic (6-6 in game two. Nevada would go on to beat Gilbert in the third-place match, 3-1, and Kuemper lost to Des Moines Hoover in the fifth-place game, 2-0.
Aside from Torres getting loose, a couple of other names got called for action that don’t normally see time on the pitch. Edgar Armenta scored his first goal of the season against the Cubs, then Ian Hernandez scored twice in the second half against the Knights.
“The opportunities that were given to the other players, I thought they filled in those spots well,” Fuchsen said. “Towards the end of the day legs get tired of course but overall I thought everyone played really well.”
Even some of the usual players got to try their hands in different spots, like sophomore Kabba Pins playing quite a bit of time at forward against Regina instead of his usual place on the defense.
“To be honest for all of my life I’ve played up in the midfield but in high school I got moved to defense,” Pins said. “Going back to the old tricks and getting up there felt good and the team did well and we worked together, so that helped out a lot.”
Pins was big in creating opportunities against the Regals, finishing with two shots on goal in the win.
What helped the offense continue to get good looks was some strong play in the midfield by senior Ricky Ibarra and his crew. Fuchsen said most of the success his team experiences comes from what happens in the midfield.
“The idea there is to restrict any sort of comfort from the other team to be able to try to possess and I think all season every team that we’ve played against has struggled to really build and create against us,” Fuchsen said. “That’s because the guys in the midfield are busting things up and at the same time they are able to transition and create for us as well.”
Though it didn’t get much action throughout the day, whenever the defense was called into play it handled essentially every threat thrown at it.
“These guys continue to do what I ask them,” Fuchsen said of his defense led by captain Franky Ramirez. “They are really efficient in the back denying any sort of opportunities, we haven’t had any 1-v-1 fast breaks against the keeper at all this year and I credit those guys in the back for keeping it tight and denying anything behind us. They are just able to battle and we are able to create out of the back too, so that says a lot about those guys.”
Playing in an all-day tournament like this isn’t just good for seeing athletes on the field, Fuchsen said it also provided some great team-bonding opportunities.
“We had a good day playing together and we had some time to hang out all day and be buddies as well,” Fuchsen said. “If we can keep everyone healthy, that was the thing that was starting to worry me towards the end with legs getting tired, but confidence-wise I think we are there. Just keep fine-tuning and grinding and working and be the best we can be come the postseason.”
As for how the team feels after wins over 1A No. 14 Nevada and No. 1 Regina, Angel said they are in a much better place than they were after the 2-2 start to the year.
“We feel very confident, in the beginning we were kind of struggling but now we’ve got everyone on the same level and this was the optimal, it was just hard work,” he said.
Marshalltown will look to keep this momentum rolling into its next match when it takes on Newton on Monday, starting at 4:45 p.m.
Nevada Soccer Invitational
Marshalltown 4, Nevada 2
Marshalltown 6, Kuemper Catholic 2
Nevada 2, Kuemper Catholic 0
Iowa City Regina 2, Des Moines Hoover 1
Iowa City Regina 2, Gilbert 0
Gilber 2, Des Moines Hoover 1
Des Moines Hoover 2, Kuemper Catholic 0
Nevada 3, Gilbert 1
Marshalltown 1, Iowa City Regina 0
MHS — Tony Angel (Jose Torres), 45:59.
Goalkeepers — ICR: Josh Dutchik (6 shots on goal, 5 saves); MHS: Jesus Muñoz (2-2).
Shots — ICR 5, MHS 17.
Shots on goal — ICR 2, MHS 6.
Corner kicks — MHS 3.