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home : sports : today's n-t sports   April 29, 2016

10/13/2012 2:18:00 AM
Earlville-Leland soccer beats Mendota, wins regional


Brandon LaChance
NewsTribune Sports Writer



WATERMAN — The main goals for the Earlville-Leland boys soccer team in Friday’s Class 1A Indian Creek Regional championship against Mendota were simple: be ready to play and be physical.

Mission accomplished.

E-L took the words of first-year coach Tim Cottingim to heart as it didn’t let up against the Trojans as the Red Raiders won their fifth straight regional title with a 4-1 triumph.

“We came out really flat on Tuesday (against Indian Creek), possibly overlooking them a little bit,” Cottingim said. “We turned it on as the game went along, but Indian Creek kept getting more confident and more confident.

“Today, I implored to these guys they have to come out ready to play, be focused, have a mindset of playing soccer not just lollygagging around and then playing as soon as the gun sounds.”

E-L did just that.

Red Raiders’ senior forward J.J. Clason scored just 8:30 into the game with a sharp kick past Mendota goalie Davy Arteaga into the top right corner of the net.

Seventeen minutes later, Clason found the back of the net for a second time to give his team a 2-0 lead with 15 minutes left to play in the first half.

The Red Raiders went into the second half with a 2-0 lead, but they knew the game was far from over.

“I know the scoreboard says 4-1, but I honestly feel we didn’t give them four goals — you never do — but we didn’t play strong throughout the middle of the field and those breakdowns allowed them to sweep right in,” Mendota coach Chawn Huffaker said.

The Trojans scored the first goal of the second half 15 minutes in when Irving Avila took Mendota’s lone corner kick of the game to Rafael Maldonado, who headed the ball off the crossbar and into the net.

However, that’s as close as MHS came.

“We lost the game because of the 50-50s,” Huffaker said. “I preach to them every practice, every game, if you don’t win goal kicks, if you don’t win keeper punts then you don’t have possession of the ball and you can’t do anything.

“Then you’re pretty much giving the other team possession and then you’re playing defense. That’s what you saw tonight. We played a whole lot of defense and not a whole lot of offense because we didn’t win 50s.”

The second half was a different story defensively for Mendota as E-L had just three shots on goal.

However, two of those three kicks were Red Raider goals.

Johnson kicked a solid shot from Clason past Arteaga but wasn’t officially counted as a goal until senior forward Hyatt Duffey drilled it in at the goal line.

The Red Raider then made sure he was a part of every one of his team’s goals as Clason assisted a goal by senior mid-fielder Tom Johnson.

Clason booted a cross-field pass into the net for the last goal of the game with 2:37 remaining on the clock to add an exclamation point to the win.

“In the second half, we let (Mendota) have too many free kicks around our goal,” Cottingim said. “In the last 11 or 12 games we’ve done a pretty good job of not allowing many of those, but today we had more than I like. I told them to dig down. They did, and we came out the winner.”

With the win, E-L advances to the Class 1A Mendota Sectional, where it will play Roanoke-Benson at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Rockets beat Serena 3-1 Friday in the Class 1A Serena Regional.

The teams have not played this season.

Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6939, or sports@newstrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.












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