HESSTON — The Central Christian College men's soccer team kicked off the 2014 season Monday with a 4-2 scrimmage victory over Hesston College.
All four of the Tiger goals came off the feet of freshmen, a very good sign for the future of Tiger soccer.
The Tigers and Larks were even at 1-all going into the halftime intermission. Central came out firing and recorded three shots in the first 10 minutes of the game, creating chances with their speed and athleticism, but struggled to finish.
The Larks struck first at the 10-minute mark when some sloppy defensive play by the Tigers gave the Larks a 1-on-1 look at the goal and they capitalized. Undaunted, the Tigers continued to press the issue and after several more near misses, the equalizer finally came in the 21st minute. Freshman Josh Taylor recorded the first goal of his college career off of an assist from veteran Oscar Pizano.
Taylor's goal seemed to relax the Tigers and from then on, they dominated possession and opportunities.
In the second half, the game opened up for the Tigers. Seven minutes into the second frame, freshman Jeremy Brooker received a pass from Taylor, successfully beat the Lark defender and buried the first goal of his collegiate career. Brooker and Taylor played together in high school so this was not the first time they had set each other up for a goal, they were just picking up where they had left off last season.
In the 64th minute, Taylor found the net again, this time off of a pass from senior Josh Black. Black played a nifty ball in behind the Lark defense allowing Taylor to run on, collect the ball and beat the Lark goal keeper. The Tigers added their fourth and final goal in the 75th minute. Freshman Jayke Maples put the nail in the coffin finishing a difficult shot off of a pass from Oscar Guidino giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead.
In the 80th minute, the Tiger defense had a second lapse as soppy play again led to the second goal for the Larks. All told, the Tigers dominated the shot chart. CCC recorded 18 shots with 10 shots on goal to just five and four from the Larks. Luis Soto and Ben Hartzell shared time in net for the Tigers each facing two shots on goal from the Larks and each coming away with one save.
Central coach Aaron Hoxie was pleased with his team's effort saying, "I'm happy with the outcome, of course, but this game showed me that the tactics need tweaked or changed if we are going to compete on an elite level, which is the goal. We'll figure it out and make a solid go of this season's campaign. This was a good opportunity for the players to showcase where they have progressed to this point. There are many spots available, so competition has been fierce during training in the run up. The coaching staff took away many positives, but also many areas of critique that must be fixed before we play better competition."
The Tigers will take the pitch again on Thursday for another scrimmage, this time at home, against the Dodge City Community College Crusaders. The ladies are set to kick off at 6 p.m. with the men to follow at 8.