Central soccer team pelts Hillsboro with 11 goals

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Central’s Duncan McKinley cuts around Hillsboro’s Taylor Bridges during the Tigers’ home win over the Hawks on Tuesday.
avogler @semissourian.com

The final score resembled one from baseball rather than soccer.

Thanks to Central's explosive offense, the Tigers notched their first win of the season by knocking off Hillsboro 11-2 at home Tuesday night.

"We came out early and we just wanted to get our first win of the season," Nick Barnes said. "We've never played against them before, so we didn't know what they were going to be like. We just wanted to bring it to them so we can get our first win of the season. We're looking to build on that going into the Notre Dame tournament."

The Tigers (1-1) bounced back from a season-opening 3-1 loss to Rockwood Summit by trouncing the Hawks.

Central netted a goal six minutes into the game and never looked back.

Central’s Preston Mecum, left, bounces a shot off Hillsboro’s Collin Ljames for a goal after Ljames blocked a shot by Central midfielder Matt Chism during the Tigers’ home win over the Hawks on Tuesday. (ADAM VOGLER)

"We played a tough one at Rockwood Summit," Central coach Dan Martin said. "I thought they came together really well. Communication and building plays is really what we worked on, and spacing and end line play, and it resulted in some goals."

Seven Central players scored in the potent offensive display.

Central dominated ball possession and put pressure on every side of the Hawks' defense.

Barnes started the scoring, and four minutes later Matt Chism upped the lead to 2-0.

Defenseman Ethan Groshong blasted a long ball past the Hawks' defense and Chism ran under it, tapping it past the goalkeeper and calmly placing it into the open net.

"It was a lot of what those players were doing off the ball," Martin said. "Those off-the-ball runs and then the players passing the ball through and penetrating, it worked out very nice. The last two years we've taken our lumps, and as we're getting older we're physically mature. We're faster now and stronger now, and it's kind of coming together. But it's still early. There's still a big season in front of us."

The Tiger's appeared to become lax with the two-goal lead.

The Hawks' Matt Maxwell had a golden opportunity at the 31-minute mark, but Central goalie Austin Bagley came up with the initial save and another on the rebound.

Maxwell played a perfect ball to a streaking Alex Brody seven minutes later, but Brody's poor touch on the incoming pass went right to Austin Bagley.

"It's something we're struggling with now, knocking the ball around with our back four," Martin said. "It happened in the sixth minute against Summit and it almost happened again, and then sure enough it did result in a goal. The communication and the pace of the ball when we are knocking it around the back is something we've got to work on."

Central regained its composure, and Preston Mecum made it 3-0 at the 14 minute mark.

Barnes put the Tigers up 4-0 on a low bullet from just inside the 18-yard box minutes later.

"It works great compared to last year," Barnes said of the Tigers' offense. "Last year we didn't have much communication. This year we really got down to it in preseason, and it feels good to come out and win like that, communicating and playing as a team like that."

Hillsboro got on the board with a little more than two minutes left in the first half when Colton Clack received a ball and buried it into the upper left corner.

The Tigers responded by taking the kickoff and playing a ball down the left flank to Matt Castillo, whose cross found Chandler Bagley and then the net for a 5-1 lead at the half.

The Tigers displayed more dominance in the second half. Chandler Bagley added two more goals and an assist.

"We mainly tried to work on playing the ball out wide and going to the end lines and dropping the ball back and letting people score," Chandler Bagley said. "We did really well at swinging the ball, and the fact that we had shots from outside of the 18 really helped, too."

Chism added another goal along with Groshong, Josh Moore and freshman Dashaun Blissett.

The Tigers face Marion at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the opening day of the Notre Dame SoccerFest.

"Traditionally we don't have any games going into that tournament, so I think it was really good to have two games going in to kind of find out where we are and then a training session prior," Martin said. "We always look forward to that tournament, and I think tonight does help with our confidence."

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