Bluejay kickers drop WVC pair in opposite ways
The last time Merrill and Marshfield met on the soccer field, the Tigers were detonating the Bluejays’ 2009 playoff hopes with a 6-2 rout.
It could have happened again last Tuesday when visiting Marshfield blasted down the field at the start of the game and Eli Oba scored just 1:48 into a scheduled 80-minute game.
Who knew it would instead take more than five minutes of overtime before the Tigers would finally leave the MARC with a 2-1 victory?
“It’s like we were sleeping out there, rather unaware that the game started,” MHS coach Doug Smith said of the early goal. “Apparently that insult woke up our team and the play began. It was an even battle with neither team exerting its will upon the other.”
Just three minutes before halftime, Merrill’s Max Eggers-a foreign exchange student from Germany-finally converted one of several scoring opportunities.
“From Spain, Carlos Villa, playing center mid, delivered a crisp pass on the ground right up the center dividing Marshfield’s defense,” Smith said. “Max timed his jump perfectly to avoid the off-sides call and found himself three yards behind their defense on a dead sprint straight toward their keeper. With the defense collapsing on both sides, Max maintained his composure and finessed the ball into the right corner from about 12 yards.”
Marshfield pressured more in the second half, although the Jay defense rose to the occasion each time. Eggers did make an excellent low cross in the 55th minute, but it slid across the mouth of the goal. The Tigers fired a direct kick shot on goal in the 53rd minute but GK Jake Yonke bumped it over the top.
Villa missed just wide in the 4th minute of OT, then Marshfield counterattacked and Oba got off a pass from near the end line, and Colin Telin scored it at far post.
The Tigers held a 15-10 shots on goal edge.
The Jays were deluged by rain and goals in Thursday’s 5-0 loss in Steven Point.
“There was some standout play,” Smith said. “Lucas Olson and Jordan Broesch teamed up for some great passing. Mike Grund, Logan Brunett, and Leo Olson also teamed up with crisp passes that ran SPASH ragged at times. But in the end we were not consistent enough to turn the tide of the game.”
SPASH, the defending WVC champion and 5-2 this year, racked up three goals in the first 17 minutes, but a slow roller in the 68th minute broke the Jays’ (1-5-1) figurative back.
Point held a 20-8 advantage in shots on goal.