After the RBHS junior varsity boys soccer game yesterday, Oct. 12, resulted in no goals either for or against their opponent, Marquette High School, the varsity team took the field. Though the game had many intense moments in the first half, only one change was made to the initial scoreboard: 0-1, with Marquette in the lead. Head Coach Alex Nichols made defensive changes, putting seniors Jacob Kovarik and Salim Gumati further back from their typical positions.
The second half began, during which senior Cooper Smith scored off a penalty kick, tying up the game at 1-1. After this, no attempts resulted in a goal for either team, which meant one thing: overtime. In the last minute of the 10-minute time frame for overtime, Marquette received a corner kick. The ball whizzed past first post, passed close to second and the Marquette player took a shot. It missed, extending the game to double overtime.
Within the first two minutes of double overtime, sophomore Tarnue Tyler made a goal off a mishit goal-kick, resulting in the final score of 2-1, making for a RBHS victory.
Assistant Varsity Coach Brandon Butcher said the team did well overall and came out with a win on the scoreboard, which they have been struggling with this year.
“We’ve been reminding them this year that we could win the game [on the field] and lose on the scoreboard,” Butcher said. “That’s still a loss on the records. Like last night, with having a lot of opportunities and not capitalizing on our chances.”
One of the strengths that Butcher mentioned about this game was the players’ ability to be flexible with the defensive change-up, since a few of the main defenders were injured.
“We moved a couple of our more goal-scorers to the back. Not for defensive purposes, but to generate a little bit of offensive from the back,” Butcher said. “Marquette got nothing in the back because of [our team’s] ability to be flexible.”
Similar to Butcher, senior Jacob Kovarik, one of the players who moved back to defense, said [RBHS] was able to step up to the plate and shut down some of the offensive plays Marquette was making.
“With a couple of defenders getting hurt, [going back to defense] was something different,” Kovarik said. “That’s what made the game a possible win, since you need to score goals to win.”
The team still has a lot of work to be ready for post-season, according to Butcher, but one thing in particular is the team’s communication and moving the ball around from player to player.
“We’re a fast team; we are a team that doesn’t give you a break,” Butcher said, “but a lot of times we make a lot of mental errors with our distribution and when we are put under pressure on defense.”
Despite this, Kovarik says the team has potential to overcome the adversities they face, such as having a game the evening before this game, and the play-makers of the team can set up the team in a winning position. Kovarik said that just because a player feels a little bit tired and sore because of another game, that doesn’t give the team an excuse for not giving all their effort.
“I felt like we had a little bit more of heart in it,” Kovarik said. “Once we were down 1-0 we realized that we had to step up our game a little bit and I feel like everybody stepped up.”
By Justin Sutherland