Lopez Lifts Tigers Past NIACC
For the second-consecutive game, the MCC men's soccer team escaped NIACC by a single goal as sophomore Javier Lopez's (Granada, Spain) tally at the 34:39 mark lifted MCC (11-5-2, 7-4-1) to a 1-0 victory past the Trojans (4-11-1, 4-7-1) in the first round of the Region XI tournament.
"I thought we did a great job at bringing the game into our style, which allowed us to have good possession percentage and several scoring chances," said head coach Rafael Martinez. "We knew how important it was going to be to stay focused and follow our game plan and the guys performed exactly what we asked them to do."
The Tigers offensively controlled the entire first half of play, out-shooting the visiting Trojans 14-0. It wasn't until the 38th minute of play that a free kick by sophomore Josh Illum (Haverhill, IA) setup the header by Lopez to score the lone goal of the match.
MCC continued to control the match through the second half of play out-shooting the Trojans 5-3, and not allowing the visitors a single shot on goal.
"I'm very happy with the process we are following and our players seem ready to keep competing," comment Martinez. "I know our next game will be very difficult. Playing Iowa Central has proven to be a great challenge, but this is the time to put everything on the field and trust ourselves."
MCC will face NJCAA I, 9th ranked Iowa Central Community College (14-2-2, 9-2-2), a winner over Iowa Lakes on Saturday at Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines. Match time has yet to be released.