Marshalltown boys soccer team beats Norwalk for fifth win in six days
It can’t be overstated what the Marshalltown boys soccer team has accomplished in the last week.
Since Saturday, the Bobcats have played five games which amounts to 360 minutes of soccer, and they have never trailed. The latest victim on this five-game surge was Class 2A No. 12 Norwalk, who MHS handled for a relatively easy 4-0 victory at Leonard Cole Field on Thursday.
Soccer is not a sport that is typically played in back-to-back days, let alone 360 minutes in a six day span, so the fact that his team is 5-0 with a 16-1 goal differential has Marshalltown head boys soccer coach Scott Johannes over the moon.
“We knew this was going to be a crazy week,” Johannes said. “We were hoping to play our subs early on Saturday and we got some of that, any time we could take a break we tried to get our guys a blow, though watching them they don’t want to come off the pitch at all.”
It would be one thing if the Bobcats (5-1) were piling up these wins against inferior opponents, but four of the last five wins have come against ranked foes.
“Whatever it is, when they are ranked we get after them and that’s been a lot of fun,” Johannes said.
Thursday’s game started the same way three of the previous four have, with an early goal from junior Jose Torres. Torres got by Warrior goalkeeper Keegan Trebilcock with a high kick that sailed over his head and bounced into the net in the seventh minute, but that wouldn’t be the last time Torres’ name was called.
He would get the first goal of the second half in the 45th minute off of a penalty kick from a foul in the box drawn by Rene Hernandez, then in the 56th minute Torres completed his first hat trick of the season with a beautiful free kick from 30 yards out that bent from left to right and caught the right corner of the net.
Of his nine goals he’s scored in the last five games, Torres said his final one on Thursday was his favorite.
“I just had the confidence in myself when I was standing right next to the ball, I knew that I was going to make it,” Torres said, a huge smile plastered on his face. “I just shot it and it went in.”
While Torres has scored the brunt of the goals during this win streak, Johannes said not only does Torres not take all of the credit for his own success, he is actively trying to get more people looks at the net.
“He’s a gamer, he wants that score, but at the same time I don’t think he wants it all to be on him,” Johannes said of Torres. “He knows his stats, but he also knows it’s about the team. When you listen to him from the bench, he’s telling guys, ‘hey, don’t dribble, let’s pass and find who’s open.
“It was good to see him get his hat trick tonight, he’s been wanting one. We have been stressing to these guys that it’s not about individual stats, it’s really not, but when he gets that first one into the back of the net it’s just, ‘OK, game one.’ We want to be the one scoring first, not because we can relax but because we can say, ‘OK, now you have to chase us.'”
Torres agreed with his coach that his goals early in games set the tone for the rest of the match, and he likes it that way.
“It gives us confidence because we know the opponent hasn’t scored, so we want to keep going, keep going and not let them score,” he said.
Keeping the opponent off the board has also been no sweat for Marshalltown of late. The Warriors (5-5) only managed one shot on goal throughout the entire 80 minutes on Thursday, and that one shot came off a late corner kick attempt. Bobcat starting goalkeeper Jesus Munoz didn’t have to make a single save in his 64 minutes between the posts, and senior defender Caleb Summers said that might be his favorite statistic from the win.
“It felt great that Jesus didn’t have to do anything, that’s the goal always, that they don’t get any shots on target and they can’t score,” Summers said. “That just shows how well our team works together because it wasn’t just the back line. It was the forwards pressing up top, the midfielders any time they got the ball, it was really just a team effort to stop them from even getting close to the goal.”
While Munoz didn’t need to do much defensively, Johannes said his control of the back line and big leg on dropkicks was key on the other side of the pitch.
“Jesus was able to give us a lot of advantage kicking that long ball with our speed tonight. It worked well,” Johannes said.
Another reason the Bobcats have been so successful during this grueling stretch of games is because of their depth, Johannes said. Junior defender Alex Angel Fernandez had his first goal of the season in the 22nd minute, but soon after he took a tough tackle and had to leave the game with multiple injuries. Instead of letting that hinder him, Johannes said it was just a next-man-up mentality.
“Alex went out early, I was glad to see him score but he went down and we will see what happens with him, but Jack Play was right there ready to take his spot and he had some quality minutes,” Johannes said.
Team success has been the focus for Marshalltown throughout the early part of this season, and Summers said that is why they are currently on a five-game winning streak.
“It’s really just a team effort, everybody is working together to accomplish our goals,” he said. “If one of us can’t step up, the other one will do it for them. We are a team, we work together and we can’t do it by ourselves, that’s why we have everybody else.”
This is the best start to a season for the Bobcats since they started 6-0 in 2013, a year that they finished 14-4 overall. Torres said the team is no where near satisfied with what it’s done to this point, however.
“We have to keep working as a team, keep improving on the things we have to make better,” he said. “That’s what we are here for, to build as a team and work for each other.”
Johannes agreed with his star forward, but he also said it will be good for his guys to get off their feet now that they don’t have to play again until traveling to Southeast Polk on Tuesday.
“We were looking at Norwalk’s schedule today, they’ve played nine games before tonight and we had played five. We just finished up how many games they have left, our bulk of the season has yet to come,” Johannes said, only slightly exasperated. “It’ll be nice to take a four-day break from school, we will definitely be out here stretching and practicing and getting ready for Southeast Polk Tuesday.”
The Bobcats and Rams will face off in Pleasant Hill on Tuesday, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Marshalltown 4, Norwalk 0
MHS — Jose Torres (Ronaldo Ordaz), 7:00.
MHS — Alex Angel Fernandez, 21:39.
MHS — Torres (pk), 44:41.
MHS — Torres, 55:10.
Goalkeepers — NOR: Kegan Trebilcock (12 shots on goal-8 saves); MHS: Jesus Munoz (0-0), Ernesto Tellez (1-1).
Shots — NOR 7, MHS 15.
Shots on Goal — NOR 1, MHS 12.
Corner Kicks — NOR 3, MHS 3.
Yellow Cards — Joe Brown, NOR, 54:10.