Glencoe falls to La Salle in nonleague finale
Sometimes even the best teams need a bounce, a call, or even a decision to go their way.
The Glencoe boys soccer team fell 4-1 at the hands of the undefeated La Salle Falcons in a nonleague affair Wednesday, Sept. 26, at Hare Field. The Tide fell behind early, evened the game shortly thereafter, then watched as the visiting Falcons pulled away, making the most of their limited opportunities while the Crimson Tide missed on theirs.
"It was a tough one because we played a solid first half, possessed and were patient with the ball," said Glencoe head coach Tom Stephens. "They're a good team and when they had a chance, they made us pay. I don't think they had more than three shots in the first half and they scored two of them. That's kind of the story of our season."
With the loss, Glencoe finished the nonleague season with a record of 3-6, and heads towards next Tuesday's league-opener with Liberty looking desperately for something to turn the momentum and ends in a positive result. The teams been battling without a handful of their best players in recent weeks and due to such, left scrambling as the Pacific Conference slate prepares to kickoff.
"We're building for league, and now we're there and we need to figure out a way to have the ball bounce our direction," Stephens said. "We've been unlucky with injuries, unlucky with sickness, and we just can't get something to go our way."
La Salle wasted little time getting on the board, scoring in the game's third minute when Liam Rinehart scored on a Luke Strange corner kick to put the Falcons up 1-0. But Glencoe evened the score roughly nine minutes later when junior midfielder Erick Valtierra blasted a shot from nearly 25 yards that fooled La Salle goalkeeper Quintin Castner, getting past the junior to tie the game. Seemingly unfazed, the Falcons went ahead 2-1 with just 11:34 remaining in the first half when Strange, on the other end of an assist by Logan Warner, beat Glencoe defenders to the ball just inside the 18-yard box and tapped a shot just past Tide goalie Oscar Flores-Reyes, giving La Salle a one goal lead as the two teams headed for the half.
Glencoe missed on a couple opportunities early in the second half and was on the wrong end of a couple more questionable calls, including a delayed stoppage as the Tide appeared to have a breakaway and an opportunity to tie the game. But instead, it was La Salle that netted the half's first goal when Kainoa Taylor netted a cross from Strange in the 61st minute to make it 3-1.
The Falcons added a fourth goal six minutes later when Karter Cook scored on another Strange assist, icing the game and sending the Tide to a second straight defeat.
"In the second half we just played from behind, and giving up that third goal, that's a game-changer and mental killer," said Stephens. "Then we changed some things around to try and get one back, and when you do that you spread yourself out and leave yourself vulnerable."
Despite the loss, the coach believes in his team and truly feels it's just a matter of time before they get things going in the right direction.
"I've got a great group of guys and we have the talent, we just have to put it all together."
Now, having lost six of their nine nonleague games, Glencoe sits on the cusp of playoff eligibility and will be dependent on a strong league showing in order to crack the field. While not pleased with their position, Stephens is optimistic and clearly knows what they need to do going forward to claim a postseason spot, starting in their league-opener Tuesday, Oct. 2, versus Liberty.
"We've put a little pressure on ourselves with our record and subsequent ranking, now we're going to have to take top-3 in the conference," the coach said. "Liberty will be tough and they're going to bring it. If we can get a result against them that will be a big step in the right direction and will spur us on going forward."
Glencoe's Oct. 2 game with Liberty is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. at Hare Field.