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Jackson strikes early in 2-0 win
The Indians improved to 13-4-1 with a victory over Central.
Jackson senior Robbie Martin used his speed to create a scoring chance, then relied on his moves to finish the play.
Martin streaked down the side, beating his defender then cut to his right, toward the goal. He deked Central goalie Clayton Uptain and buried the shot to give the Indians an early lead. Jackson added another goal and held on for the 2-0 victory in boys soccer action Thursday.
"It just kind of comes," Martin said of his moves to get around Uptain. "You see the goalie coming and you just turn. I brought it back to the middle so there was more goal."
With no defenders left to beat, Martin admitted he was nervous about hitting the back of the net.
"I was thinking about it a lot because I knew it was a big game and if we put it in, it was huge to go up on them early like that," he said
The Indians doubled their lead just over 10 minutes later. Caleb Beussink was credited with the goal after sending a free kick flying toward the goal. The ball bounced off a Central defender and into the net.
"You hate to ever see that," Central coach Tom Doyle said. "But the other option is I don't even go up for the ball and then their player gets the ball and kicks it in. That's part of the game. We had some goals given to us this year earlier in other games."
Martin said the Indians (13-4-1) were thankful for the early lead, especially after their last meeting with Central. The Tigers (11-10-1) scored 13 seconds into the Sept. 18 game and held on for the 1-0 victory. Plus, Central was coming off a 3-2 victory over Notre Dame on Tuesday.
"Especially after they beat Notre Dame on Tuesday, it was very important, I think, to go up on them early, considering how we lost last time," Martin said. "We didn't want a repeat."
Central's best opportunities to cut into Jackson's lead came in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Tigers moved the ball well and pelted the Indians' goal with shots. But the Indians were up to the task.
"Probably the first 8 to 12 minutes of the second half, we really pounded it," Doyle said. "We put one of those in, we probably win the game. But they weathered the storm. They got through it and they still felt good about themselves."
Jackson expected a barrage after the intermission.
"We withstood it," Jackson coach Zack Walton said. "They had some chances. We came up with some saves and the defenders did fine back there."
The Indians relied on their defense the rest of the way. Central got off shots, but most of them were from well outside the box.
"Once the second half rolled around, they just started pushing more and more forwards down," said Beussink, who plays sweeper. "We kept bringing guys back and made sure that no through balls got through for breakaways.
"Our defense as a whole plays more defensively. We keep more people back. We don't rush forward as much."
Jackson had two golden opportunities in the second half to build on its lead, but Uptain made dazzling saves to keep his team in the game. In the closing 10 minutes, Jackson kept clearing the ball to limit the pressure on goal and keep the shutout intact.
"Basically everyone on our team plays defense," Walton said. "Once it collapses down there into our final third, everybody on the team knows that. Those back players did a really nice job. They got in the passing lanes. They didn't stab. They just played nice defense."