By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion boy’s soccer team lost a close 3-1 match in regional semifinal action against Rochester on October 20. Zach Harvey had the lone goal for the Braves.
The boys played great,” Head coach Scott Crawford said. “They played hard. They worked their butt off and I’m proud of them. They did a great job.”
In the first half, both defenses played tough and didn’t allow any goals for a 0-0 half. The Braves’ defense of Logan Kendall, Thomas Konemaru, Matthew Platzbecker, Brayden Traxler and Jacob Zora controlled the defensive third. Kendall stepped up and made a crucial play right by the goal to get rid of a scoring opportunity for Rochester. Braves’ goalkeeper Joshua Garrett made a tough save to also keep the scoring deadlocked.
“They (the defense) worked hard, they were consistent,” Coach Crawford said. “They kept everything in front of them. They just had a good day and a good all around game.
The game started to open up in the second half. Ten minutes into the second half, Landon Kutscher scored on a Brayden Tucker corner-kick pass to give Rochester a 1-0 lead.
The Braves countered in their attack. The Braves got their chances to shut down, but Harvey was persistent. Harvey finally used his speed and strength to get a touch off a defender and went right past the defender, shot the ball over the attacking goalkeeper and electrified the
Braves’ crowd by scoring the game-tying goal to make the score 1-1.
Both defenses held on late into the second half. Then In the 67th minute, Rochester was awarded a free-kick right outside the box. Tucker scored off a free-kick to give Rochester a 2-1 lead.
Garrett composed himself and was confined to attack offenders and make tough saves. Garrett finished the game with six saves.
Five minutes later, Garrett made a play on the ball that any other time the play would have been counted as a save. Garett found the attacker and tried to scoop up the ball. The referee blew his whistle on Garrett, because of a player going down.
A penalty-kick was awarded to Rochester, that Ryan Dietrcich scored on to give Rochester a 3-1 lead.
The Braves’ attacked again and again, but just couldn’t find the net. The Braves lost 3-1 and finished the season 8-12-3.
“I think we started out and we struggled a little bit,” Coach Crawford said. “I think we worked our way through it. And I think we ended up on a good note. We played hard, we were respectable today and I thought we ended on a good note.”
The Braves graduated four seniors in Kendall, Zora, Francisco Gomez and Alec Borders. The team is returning a huge chunk of their scoring and playmaking in Kam Clark and Harvey. Not to mention the defense is losing two center-backs in Kendall and Zora, but Platzbecker, Konemaru and Traxler will be back again. Both goalkeepers Garrett and Carter Bahls return as well as other key pieces in this year’s team with Luke Shumaker, Hayden Shumaker, and Evan Griffith. This team is a young team that learned a lot this year and will be back in the fall of 2022.