On a cold Sunday afternoon, the Bellevue Bruins took a 4-1 victory over the Mount Marty Lancers in men’s soccer.
“This kind of non-conference games help us, Bellevue is a top team in the area. We use these games to evaluate, and see some other players in game situations that we don’t normally see in the conference action,” Mount Marty Head Coach Carlos Saenz said. “We are happy we got to see a couple players that usually don’t get much minutes, and I think they performed well.”
The Bruins were quick to use the cold-weather to their advantage, as the Lancers’ defense was lukewarm at the start of the match, and Bellevue took a quick 2-0 lead just 15 minutes into the match.
Mount Marty’s defense then stepped up to the challenge, most notably goalkeeper Sebastian Aguero, who made multiple impressive stops to keep the Bruins at bay. Aguero had seven saves on 17 shots in the first half, but Bellevue managed to score once more on a free kick to put themselves up 3-0 at halftime.
“Sebastian is a key player for us, the goalkeepers we have are at a really good level.We are secure having him or any goalkeeper we have, because we trust them that when the opportunity comes, they can play,” Saenz said.
But the Lancers rebounded at halftime, coming out of the locker room with a rejuvenated energy. That energy led to a goal by Freshman Midfielder Savas Di Lascio, and nearly turned the momentum in favor of the Lancers. However, a missed call on an illegal slide tackle inside the box with 30 minutes to go deflated Mount Marty, and the Bruins responded 13 minutes late with a wide-open goal by Inaki Aldao to seal the 4-1 victory for Bellevue.
The match did provide many Lancers who do not normally play in Great Plains Athletic Conference matches valuable time, something Coach Saenz liked to see as the Lancers head into the second half of the conference season.
“The first half, we start flat, I think some of those players that didn’t get some of those minutes before, they weren’t ready for game speed, but you know, second half we went 100%, we started rotating a little more and we showed that we can play with any team in the conference or in the area and we can compete, it’s just a matter if we can continue to work,” Saenz said.
Now the Lancers will prepare for an important home conference matchup on Wednesday as Mount Marty takes on Presentation. It will have the feel of almost an elimination game, as the teams currently sit at the bottom of the conference standings. A win for the Lancers, though, could put Mount Marty in the eighth place spot, which is also the last bid to the conference tournament.
“As of right now, we have been playing well, we have been performing well, and we like what we see on the field. But the result hasn’t been the best one for us, even though we tied two really good teams in the last two games, now we need to make sure we capitalize more on the opportunities we got and Wednesday we get a good performance then go from there,” Saenz said.
The Lancers will take on the Presentation Saints at Crane-Youngworth Field starting at 7:30 on Wednesday.
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