Hernandez lifts MHS boys soccer team over Ames with golden goal

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Ames defender Grant Welk (5) looks on as Marshalltown’s Jose Torres (7) hugs Rene Hernandez (8) after Hernandez scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Tuesday’s soccer match at Leonard Cole Field. The Class 3A No. 6 Bobcats defeated the 15th-ranked Little Cyclones 2-1.

At the end of regulation the Class 3A No. 6 Marshalltown boys soccer team and No. 15 Ames were locked in a 1-1 tie, so for a second-straight game the Bobcats were headed to overtime.

MHS suffered only its second loss of the season the last time out in a 3-2 loss to No. 1 Waukee in penalty kicks, which ended a 13-game winning streak, and for most of regulation against the Little Cyclones it seemed the Bobcats had a hangover from the loss to the Warriors.

In overtime that all washed away, however, as Marshalltown came out hot and firing, much to the surprise of Ames. In the 86th minute junior Rene Hernandez saw his chance on a high ball played into the box, and he took advantage of the opportunity by drilling the ball into the net for a 2-1, walk-off win.

“I knew we had to score quick, so I just thought about going up,” Hernandez, who is usually in the midfield, said of the chance. “I thought the ball was going to go over the defender and I played that mistake and it worked out and I scored the goal.”

As soon as he scored, Hernandez was mobbed by his teammates and drowned in cheers by the great crowd in attendance at Leonard Cole Field. MHS head boys soccer coach Scott Johannes said while Hernandez’s goal is what ended the game, it was actually the play from the last five minutes of regulation that led to the game winner.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown soccer players Samuel Estrada (10), Ronaldo Ordaz, middle, and Rene Hernandez (8) celebrate after Estrada’s goal in the sixth minute of the Bobcats’ 2-1 overtime victory over Ames.

“A couple of things happened, [leading scorer Jose Torres] wasn’t touching the ball so they finally got him the ball and he got a couple of good shots, we got a couple of other good shots and all of a sudden they said, ‘hey, this is what we need to do,'” Johannes said. “Their goalie was so good too, and we knew that you can’t just put a crazy one in there. You’ve got to have follow up, you’ve got to get in there.”

Torres, who is usually leading the way for the Bobcats (14-2) on the scoreboard, had only attempted one shot before the final 10 minutes of the game. By the end he was the leading shooter with five attempts, three on goal, and had it not been for an amazing effort by Ames goalkeeper Ben Schwartz, Torres likely would have ended the game in regulation.

Still, the late onslaught is what Hernandez said set the table for his overtime heroics.

“We just had a sense of urgency to score and win the game,” Hernandez said. “We started losing the 50/50 balls and were getting beat, so we knew we had to switch it up.”

Samuel Estrada gave MHS a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute off a rocket shot that he got from his own shot rebound, but the Little Cyclones (8-6) responded right back with a goal from Blake Bosley in the 10th minute to tie it up at 1-1.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown midfielder Rene Hernandez (8) rises for a header during the first half of the Bobcats’ 2-1 overtime win over Ames on Tuesday at Leonard Cole Field.

It would remain a tie game through regulation, despite quite a few chances from both teams. Schwartz finished with nine saves for Ames, but Bobcat keeper Jesus Munoz also had a great game with four saves on five shots on goal, with the lone goal allowed coming off a deflection off an MHS defender.

Johannes said his team on any other day would probably have taken care of business quicker against the Little Cyclones, but after a hard-fought loss to the No. 1 team in the state that ended a 13-game winning streak it can be a tough task to take the pitch again.

“The focus has been so long on that Waukee game, so how do you get up for a team that is considered lower than you?” he asked. “I don’t think we are used to being on top, I was hoping we would be the underdogs all season long so we stay hungry. The trick is to play hungry while you’re being chased, and it’s tough.”

The Bobcats overcame the adversity thanks to some crucial plays down the stretch, and Hernandez said it felt good to flip the outcome from their loss to Waukee.

“Last time it was very unfortunate to lose in penalties and not score anything in overtime,” he said. “We are really happy to get this win.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

There’s just one game left in the regular season for MHS, a Senior Night showdown against No. 14 Johnston at Leonard Cole Field, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. Johannes said it’s important for his boys to keep the foot on the gas and head into the postseason with some momentum.

“We’re not going to give up, and that’s what we have to get that focus back on,” he said. “We were hungry through the streak and we wanted to start another one, and we’ve done that. I just wish it would have been prettier.”

Marshalltown 2, Ames 1, OT

At Marshalltown

First half

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

MHS — Samuel Estrada, 5:42.

Ames — Blake Bosley (Jordan Corrieri), 9:38.

Second half

No scoring.

Overtime

MHS — Rene Hernandez, 85:54.

Goalkeepers — Ames: Ben Schwartz (11 shots on goal-9 saves); MHS: Jesus Munoz (5-4).

Shots — Ames 8, MHS 16.

Shots on Goal — Ames 5, MHS 11.

Corner Kicks — Ames 3, MHS 4.

Yellow Cards — Corrieri, Ames, 26:15; Ames bench, 60:38.