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OTTAWA — Thunder and lightning didn’t allow the Ottawa and La Salle-Peru boys soccer teams to play past the 29:22 mark in the second half, but beforehand, there was action on the pitch.
Unlike the storm, the Pirates passed all over their home field in a 4-1 weather-shortened victory over the Cavaliers Thursday in Ottawa.
“That first half we were really possessing the ball well and spreading it out,” Ottawa coach Jeff Davis said. “We made a few nice runs where we strung five or six passes together to attack their net. Finally, we were able to capitalize and get one of those goals in there.”
The first four minutes of the game was played mainly at midfield as both teams tried to get past iron curtain defense with no avail, until Ottawa found a glitch in the defense and pulled through.
The Pirates didn’t stop for the rest of the half.
Junior Tristan Cunha scored first for the Pirates at the 16:18 mark off a pass from fellow junior Ryan Dillon. The ball was lead perfectly for Cunha, who caught up to it and crossed his shot from the south side of the field to the north side of the net.
Fifty-five seconds later, the Pirates scored again as junior Francisco Sanchez connected on a penalty kick after the Cavs were called for a handball in the box.
“We’ve definitely bee working on (our passing). We do a lot of ball possession where we work on controlling the passes, picking the defense apart,” Davis said. “They did well with it (Thursday) and were able to get some good runs.”
L-P had a chance to score the first goal of the game with 31 minutes left in the first half when senior forward Fidelmar Mora broke free from the pack and slid the ball past Pirate goalie Sean O’Donnell.
However, it was whistled away on an offsides call. The Cavaliers were called for five offsides, four of which came in the first half.
“It is something that has actually been getting a lot better,” Cavs’ coach Ryan Duffy said. “I think (Thursday) we were so geared up to play these guys, but we need to stay patient. I think they see their opportunity and are so ready to jump on it, but you got to be patient and disciplined. That may have cost us.”
Senior Christian Gutierrez came out of the second-half gate firing at L-P junior goalie Garret Weikel.
In 1:35 of play, he scored on an unassisted goal after he rushed past the Cavalier defense and placed the ball just Weikel’s out-stretched hands.
He did it again less than six minutes later when he blasted a shot at the goal that bounced off L-P senior Fernando Lucero and into the net.
“Good things happen when you put the ball on the net,” Davis said. “There are two prime examples of it.”
Even with bad weather vastly approaching, the Cavaliers trudged on down 4-0 and got on the scoreboard at the 48:48 mark.
Senior forward Lars Flodstrom put the ball in on an offensive rebound around the goal as every player on the field tried to either score or knock the ball away from the net.
Flodstrom won the lottery and scored right before the referees saw the first lighting strike less than two minutes after the Cavs were on the scoreboard.
The referees were going to go by the book and wait to resume the game 30 minutes after the last lightning bolt sighting, but both coaches decided it would be too late to continue playing and decided to take their teams home.
“They had a lot of speed and they had the height on us today,” Duffy said. “We know them very well, they know us very well and they’re always hard fought games when we play. I think you have to give them a lot of credit. They came out with a lot of energy and we tried to keep up with them, but they put two on the board quickly.”
Brandon LaChance is a NewsTribune Sports Writer. He can be reached at 220-6995, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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