After playing two grueling games at the Husky Invitational on Saturday, the Tippecanoe Valley boys soccer team looked a little fatigued in its home game against Mississinewa Monday. The Vikings were never able to fully get it going, falling 3-0.
The visitors were able to apply a python-like pressure from the opening minutes of the game onward, consistently forcing turnovers, winning all of the 50/50 balls and continuously forcing the Vikings to defend their goal throughout the match. The pressure would pay off in a big way early on, as Mississinewa scored the game’s opening goal in the first five minutes of the match.
Following the score, the Valley offense would wake up momentarily. The Vikings were able to push action themselves for a bit, but were unable to do so with the consistency the Indians were able to supply. It seemed as if the final run just wasn’t there for Tippy Valley, as a series of players would follow the play as the ball moved forward, but the occasional cross by Eric Eikenberry never found a recipient.
Junior Julian Rosas of Valley makes a leaping save during Monday evening's home match against Mississinewa. Photo by Gary Nieter
Fifteen minutes into the game, it looked as if the visitors were on their way to doubling their lead on a great chance, but Valley goalkeeper Julian Rosas was there in time to make an outstanding saves. It wouldn’t be the first or last time in the half Rosas was tested, and more times than not, the junior was up to the challenge.
Not happy with his team’s effort around halfway through the first half, defenseman Kevin Marr was very vocal in encouraging his teammates to press forward, pleading with them to be more aggressive on the ball. The callout would pay dividends, as the Valley defense would play with much more purpose for the remainder of the first 40 minutes.
With less than ten minutes to go, the visitors got into a groove once again, generating a flurry of chances to extend their lead. Mississinewa would score with about five minutes left, but the goal was taken off on an offside call. Despite the second score feeling inevitable, it never came. Tippy Valley stayed strong down the stretch, keeping it a one goal game going into half number two.
The first few minutes of the second half came and went with little drama outside of Rosas making another incredible save to keep his team in the game. With 30 minutes remaining in the game, Valley had its best chance to score yet, earning a free kick just outside the box. The ensuing free kick would take a deflection out of harm’s way.
Despite the draining spells of possession the Indians were able to dominate, the Vikings were able to stay strong defensively and keep the visitors out of the back of the net. The only problem for the home side was despite the defensive intensity improving, the offense was still minimal at best.
It would end up costing Valley. With 15 minutes remaining in the game, Mississinewa was finally able to sneak one just past the arms of Rosas, doubling their lead. With 10 minutes left, the Indians would be awarded a penalty kick on a questionable hand ball call in the box. The visitors would convert, putting the game on ice.
Tippecanoe Valley (7-4-1) plays its next game on Wednesday, a road contest at Oregon-Davis