Last updated: August 22. 2014 10:55PM - 509 Views
By - eingles@civitasmedia.com



Smith-Cotton's Luke Guier tries to control a pass from Jordan Lawson during the first half of a game against Marshall.
Smith-Cotton's Luke Guier tries to control a pass from Jordan Lawson during the first half of a game against Marshall.
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The Smith-Cotton boys soccer team opened the 2014 season with a 5-2 win over Marshall in the opening game of the Smith-Cotton Tournament Friday at Susie Ditzfeld Field, answering back after allowing a pair of Marshall goals in the first half to trail 2-0 at halftime.


In the night-cap, Smith-Cotton beat Carl Junction 5-0.


Against Marshall, Jordan Lawson and Luke Guier sparked the come back seconds into the half, pressuring off the kick off before Guier passed to Lawson who wove through the Owls defense on his way to the goal to make it 2-1.


“Luke got a touch on it,” Lawson said. “I was already running towards the goal. Luke got a toe on it and it came right to me. I dribbled and I put it far post.”


That was only the beginning as the Tigers put in four more in the half.


“We picked up our intensity and played a lot better as a team in the second half,” Guier said. “Our passes were completed. The intensity was a lot better.”


After several chances to tie the game early in the half, including a Lawson shot that went wide, a Jacob Carroll header that went over the bar and a pair of chances from Vlad Varshytskyy, the Tigers found themselves level in the 61st minute. A Roberto Ramirez shot deflected off a Marshall center-back and into the goal.


Guier put the Tigers in front moments later, deflecting a Jorge Salazar shot in to make it 3-2 Smith-Cotton.


A penalty kick in the 73rd minute from Nic Crank made it 4-2 and Guier tacked on the final goal in the 74th minute.


Smith-Cotton kept the pressure on for most of the game, but in the second half that led to goals. In the first half, Marshall kept the Tigers off the board.


“They were winning balls in the air, and we were not,” said Smith-Cotton coach Ethan Weller. “It came down to work-rate. Their work-rate was higher than ours and our overall decision making. They fixed those things. Balls out of the air was the big one, work-rate picked up and decision making turned around.”


In temperatures above 90 degrees at kickoff, teams took two water breaks during each half but Weller was able to keep his players fresh using his depth, as Smith-Cotton substituted large numbers at a time.


“We do have a lot of guys who can contribute on the varsity level,” he said. “There’s going to be guys that can contribute on the varsity level some years that aren’t going to get a lot of time because there are guys ahead of them better, but we used it as a positive. We basically had two shifts going every eight minutes. The first half they stayed with us and the second half we had our legs under us.”


Marshall scored twice in the first half despite not having much possession of the ball. The Owls won a ball out of the air in the 20th minute, leading to a Diego Umana goal. Umana struck again on a counter attack in the 32nd minute. He nearly added a third off a pass from Roberto Hernandez moments later, but he was flagged offside.


“The system we’re running this year is a little more aggressive system,” Weller said. “The downfall is, if you don’t win balls out of the air and if you turn the ball over in bad spots, you are going to get countered. There are definitely things to clean up there, but I think overall the system did what it was designed to do.”


In the second game of the night, Guier scored in the 23rd minute. The Tigers then added four more in the second half on goals from Lawson in the 45th and 47th minute, Jonathan Lopez in the 68th and Blake Grupe in the 71st.


The Tigers finish the tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday at Susie Ditzfeld before visiting Moberly on Monday and opening their West Central Conference title defense Thursday against KC Center.

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