Marshalltown boys soccer wins fourth straight to advance in substate

T-R PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER - Marshalltown sophomore forward Aaron Ordaz Zambrano (10) celebrates his second goal of the match as the Bobcats defeated Mason City 3-0 in Tuesday’s Class 4A Substate 3 first-round pairing at Leonard Cole Field.

Marshalltown boys soccer is putting together its best soccer at the best time.

The Bobcats won their fourth game in a row with a 3-0 triumph over Mason City in a Class 4A Substate 3 first-round game at Leonard Cole Field on Tuesday.

MHS improved to 6-10 overall and will play the role of David against 4A No. 2 Dowling Catholic in a substate semifinal at Des Moines next Monday.

“We’ve had some good wins and we want to keep it going against Dowling,” MHS senior Brecken Payne said.

Marshalltown coach Scott Johannes felt the Bobcats had to get away from playing Mason City’s style in the first half to start finding success.

T-R PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER - Marshalltown’s Aaron Ordaz Zambrano (10) samples Joel Ortiz’s cooking after Ortiz scored the first goal of the match during the Bobcats’ 3-0 win over Mason City on Tuesday at Leonard Cole Field.

“We were pushing the ball more than we wanted to rather than finding possession and waiting for it to come to us,” Johannes said. “Sometimes when teams are playing the long ball like that we just go along with it.”

At the midway mark, Joel Ortiz scored on an assist from Rafa Ortiz to get Marshalltown on the board and settle the Bobcats in after what had been a back-and-forth start for both offenses.

Just when it seemed that would be the halftime margin, a Mason City foul in their defensive box late in the half put Aaron Ordaz Zambrano on the line for a penalty kick, converting for a 2-0 lead. A minute later, he corralled a loose ball with a bit of nifty footwork and then chipped a shot perfectly over the outstretched arms of the Mason City keeper, and in 60 seconds Marshalltown’s advantage had gone from one to three goals.

“I didn’t really expect much,” Ordaz Zambrano said of his second goal of the night, which was his 15th of the season. “I just shot it.”

Even with a 3-0 lead, the message at halftime was stern after the slow start and Johannes said the Bobcats responded.

“The only thing we didn’t get accomplished was getting more shots in the second half,” Johannes added. “But we controlled the ball throughout that half.”

In the second half, Marshalltown was able to neutralize Mason City’s attack through communication and solid slide tackles that disrupted the Riverhawks offense and leading scorer Eliott Ruiz.

“You just trust the keeper to be there and communicate to not let it go through our defenses, because they were fast,” Payne said.

Getting the win last week against then seventh-ranked (3A) Marion was a major boost for the Bobcats, especially as they prepare for another ranked challenger in the Maroons, a state semifinalist last year.

“Marion was the strongest team we had played yet, and beating them, our confidence level just went up,” Ordaz Zambrano said. “It shows that no team is really above any other team, it comes down to who wants it more and who comes out on top.”

As strong as Marshalltown’s been playing on the pitch in the last few weeks of the season, the Bobcats will need another level against Dowling, Johannes said.

“We need to play as close to a perfect game as we can,” he added. “You’re gonna make some mistakes, but you can’t make too many in a row. We need our defense ready to play for all 80 minutes and look for those opportunities because they’ll be fast and physical. But we’ve got a physical squad too.

“They put their boots on the same way we do. We’ve just got to believe in ourselves.”


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