Truman boys soccer coach Manny Tovar noticed his team didn’t have much energy before its game against St. Joseph Central.
There was no school earlier Monday and the Patriots had not practiced since Friday.
Even with the lack of energy, Truman managed to get off 16 shots in the first 30 minutes, but looked sluggish the rest of the way. However, it still managed to make two early goals stand in a 2-0 Suburban Big Six victory.
“At the beginning of the game. I didn’t know how we were going to start off,” Tovar said. “Our energy level wasn’t there. We kind of came out fast then slowed down throughout the half.”
Center back Isaac Ruiz echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“We started pretty good, but as the game went on, we started to tired,” Ruiz said.
Truman might have been tired, but it didn’t take long for it to strike. In the third minute, one shot from Truman (9-3, 5-1) was blocked by a Central defender, Nate Hedrick tried to put in the rebound, but it was blocked by goalkeeper Cole Weiberg. Fortunately for the Patriots, Austin Montoya was right near the goalmouth to put in the rebound for a 1-0 edge.
Truman put six shots on goal in the first eight minutes, but was only able to convert on one. Ruiz converted the team’s eighth when Ruiz sidestepped a defender and fit a shot between a thicket of defenders that snuck inside the left post.
“Whenever I get the ball, I try to shoot,” Ruiz said. “That shot and saw three guys coming at me, and I saw an opening and I took it.”
After the first 30 minutes, Central began to mount some chances for the final 50. But there to negate those efforts was Truman goalkeeper Josh Cruz, who made nine saves.
The Indians had the ball deep inside the Patriot penalty box and one shot was almost lobbed into the goal, but Cruz leaped and knocked it over the goal.
Shortly after that attempt, another Central player shot a rocket from the left wing that was headed for the inside upper left corner of the goal, but the Truman senior made another leaping save.
“I just wanted to give our team a chance,” Cruz said. “This game was not that hyped up. We weren’t too into it, but we stayed focused.”
But perhaps his most impressive save came when Andre Valdovinos had a breakaway one-on-one opportunity, but Cruz came up to challenge him and made a diving stop at close range inside the box.
Those are the kind of saves Tovar expects out of his senior goalie.
“That was a great reaction save from him,” Tovar said of the close-range stop. “We expect him to keep every ball out of the goal. But we know doesn’t happen every time.”