After a pair of home losses dashed their chances at a Region IX playoff berth the weekend before, the Northwest College men’s soccer team salvaged a measure of pride Saturday with a 4-2 road …
After a pair of home losses dashed their chances at a Region IX playoff berth the weekend before, the Northwest College men’s soccer team salvaged a measure of pride Saturday with a 4-2 road win over Central Wyoming.
“It’s always nice to end on a positive note, going into the off-season workouts,” said NWC head coach Ben McArthur. “As for what was working for us, we just wore them [CWC] down. We pressed them for the whole 90 minutes and played 24 players, which was awesome — I got to play a lot of sophomores. Just having that depth against a new program was huge.”
Central (1-13-1, 0-9-1 in Region IX play) got off to a fast start, scoring goals in the ninth and 24th minutes to take a 2-0 lead. The Trappers (7-8-1, 5-8 in Region IX play) finally got on the board in the 32nd minute, when freshman forward Taisei Goto found the back of the net, assisted by Alejandro Fernandes; the Rattlers led 2-1 after one half.
“I think we out-shot them [CWC] 12-0, then they scored on their first shot on goal, which always frustrates me as a coach,” McArthur said. “But that woke us up. I asked the guys at half, ‘Is this your best effort? Because I don’t think it is.’ They really brought it the second half.”
The Trappers owned the second half, shutting out the Rustlers 3-0 to take the 4-2 victory. Freshman midfielder Junwon Kim scored in the 49th minute off Fernandes’ second assist of the game; it was Kim’s first goal as a Trapper.
“Junwon [Kim] has just had an unbelievable run of bad luck this season, but he played great Saturday,” McArthur said. “In fact, the last few weeks, he’s just been geting better and better. We’re really excited to see what his sophomore year is going to look like.”
Sophomore Gage Magone followed Kim’s lead in the 68th minute, assisted by Haruki Yamazaki and Ryoto Nakamura to give the Trappers a 3-2 lead.
“Gage Magone played really well, scored a goal for us,” McArthur said. “Good to see him finish strong as a sophomore.”
After assisting on a pair of goals, Fernandes, a sophomore and team captain, scored an insurance goal in the 83rd minute, assisted by keeper Ryan Bevins.
“I challenged Alex [Fernandes] before the game started,” McArthur said. “I said, ‘Hey, you’re a sophomore, this is your last game for Northwest College. Can you go out and dominate?’ He rose to the occasion and did exactly that. It was good to see a sophomore step up like that.”
Sophomore Colson DeCarlo started at keeper for the Trappers, recording five saves; Bevins played the second half and got a rare assist on Fernandes’ goal.
“It was just smart goalie play. He picked his head up and recognized the defense was playing high on us,” McArthur said. “So he booms a kick over the top, and Alex [Fernandes] scoops it up, runs it through for a goal. Just a heads-up play. It was awesome.”
With the 2019 season in the books, McArthur has already hit the recruiting trail, with two players already committed for next season. As an interim, the coach will have to go through the interview and hiring process again, but he’s hoping that with the potential the program showed this season, he’ll be back for the next.
“For us to continue to grow and develop as a program, we have to get some bite to our possessions,” he said. “[Trapper assistant coach and PHS head coach] Dave Gilliatt pointed out a couple of weeks ago that 14 out of the 16 games we played this season, we out-possessed our opponents. But we need to have some bite to that possession. That is a priority going forward, as well as continuing to get kids to buy into our culture. Hopefully I can get the interim tag removed and get on with that.”