The layoff had very little effect on the Wildcats as they won a hard fought contest, defeating the Warriors 3-2. The win pushed Cleveland’s region record to 2-0. The Wildcats, who also picked up forfeit wins against Clarksdale and Winona, are now an impressive 9-1.
Wildcats head soccer coach Steve Wies said he was very concerned about the long layoff.
“It’s an uneasy feeling that one gets as a coach when you have that long of a layoff, and you’re not practicing on a daily basis,“ Wies said after the game. “We had a game scheduled for yesterday to try to knock some of the rust off, but they (Winona) cancelled on us. The guys, the last two days of practice that we had before tonight, did well to get themselves ready. I felt much more at ease leaving practice yesterday to get ready for today’s game with the guys than I have in past years.”
Cleveland started out a little slow as Senatobia scored a first half goal to take a 1-0 lead, which ended up being the score at halftime.
The Wildcats stepped it up in the second half. Daniel Guerra got things going for Cleveland as he scored the team’s first goal of the game, with Jason Reed getting the assist on the play, to tie the game at 1-1. Guerra struck again as he scored the Wildcats’ second goal with Trace Bray getting the assist to make the score 2-1 in favor of Cleveland.
The Warriors weren’t through as they were able to score their second goal of the game to tie it up at 2-2. As the second half progressed, Cleveland got a big break as Senatobia was called for a hand ball foul. The violation enabled Cleveland to go to Nixon Mata for the penalty kick. Mata was able to hit the back of the net for the game winning score.
The Wildcats’ offense was on the attack by recording 17 shots on goal.
Cleveland’s defense did its job through out the whole game by allowing just six shots on goal. Conner Taylor turned in another solid performance as he anchored the defense in the field, while goalie Trace Edwards recorded four saves to keep Senatobia in check through out the second half.
“Senatobia, they’re hustlers now,” Wies said. “They beat us to the ball terribly in the first half. They didn’t show it as much in the second half, and we did a lot better in the second half with our pass work. We were able to move the ball up and down, especially down this left side of the field, which set up several scoring opportunities. It looked like we caught them flat footed and that’s what we’re supposed to do and that’s how we’re supposed to play.”
Cleveland will hit the soccer field again on Tuesday when the team travels to Olive Branch to take on Lewisburg in another region game. Kickoff for the game is set for 7:30 p.m.