It’s nice to have a conference schedule again.
It’s even nicer to be undefeated conference play.
Smith-Cotton boy’s soccer maintained a perfect record in Central Missouri Activities Conference play Wednesday with a 2-0 victory hosting Hickman at Tiger Stadium in Sedalia.
Tigers head coach Ethan Weller said CMAC matchups, after two seasons independent of a conference, helps the team maintain focus during the fall campaign. The Tigers (5-1, 2-0 CMAC) defeated Helias on Sept. 1
“It gives you a goal within the season,” Weller said. “There’s times where the season gets a little long and monotonous, and this helps keep the intensity and the energy level up.”
S-C created both scoring opportunities with speedy counter-attacks led by junior Sam Cash. In the 17th minute, Cash crossed the ball across the goal for junior Vicente Saldana, who buried the chance in front of the Kewpies keeper.
Weller said S-C has relied on sound defense to create long, streaky scoring sequences.
“They’ve kind of found their identity, and they kind of found it last year,” Weller said. “Stay organized defensively, make it hard to get in, and then when you get a chance, they’ve got to go in.”
In the 57th, Saldana stole the ball and sent the ball to Cash, who was hustling down the sideline. Cash again connected with Saldana, who shot from about 13 yards away to score his second goal of the match and third of the season.
Weller said S-C is going to use their opponents' aggression against them.
“We almost need people to out-play us a little bit, so that it plays into our strength,” Weller said.
Tigers senior goalkeeper Wesley Morrison is the centerpiece of the defense, Weller added. Morrison recorded his third shutout of the year after helping S-C silence teams 13 times in a 16-win campaign last season.
“It's comforting knowing we can kind of sit and stay organized in front of him,” Weller said. “If we just make it hard to get in, they’re going to get frustrated and start shooting from outside. You’re probably not going to beat Wesley with deep shots.”
Morrison was among 11 recognized before the varsity match during senior night ceremonies. The Tigers continue Thursday hosting Center at Susie Ditzfeld Memorial Field in Sedalia.