PRINCETON — Anna’s Coyotes and Community kicked and ran to a 1-1 tie on Saturday, Jan. 7, on the second day of play at the weather-interrupted Princeton Soccer Tournament at Jackie Hendrix Stadium. Both goals came courtesy of point-blank-range penalty kicks in the second half, with the Braves’ coming first and Anna’s sophomore Isaac Nino supplying the equalizer with less than seven minutes left to play. Tournament rules did not allow for shoot-outs to break ties.
Coyotes head coach Matt Ellis said this performance by his charges was much improved over Thursday, when they defeated Bonham, 1-0.
“We held the ball a little bit better, we moved the ball better, we defended better,” Ellis said. “We were much better today than we were on Thursday — in the first half and the second half. … Actually, when we got down a goal, that’s the best that we’ve played so far. We changed formations a little bit and we really settled in a played much better.”
As for areas he’d like to see improve, Ellis said his center backs were “stepping up too high” — playing too far forward — and that he’d like to see his forwards get more movement off the ball.
“We weren’t doing enough to create space for each other,” he said.
These second-round matches were moved to Saturday due to single-digit wind-chill factors on Friday, which eliminated Saturday’s planned semi-final and final rounds. Though light winds and sunshine reigned on Friday, morning temperatures still hovered in the mid to upper 20s, so matches were shortened from the usual 40 minutes per half to 30. By the end of Anna’s match with Community, about 12:30 p.m., the temperature had risen above freezing.
Ellis noted that curtailed halves effect strategy.
“We hardly subbed in the second half,” he said. “I mean, take 10 minutes off each half, and my normal possible patterns are completely changed. I have an idea of what I’m going to do going into a game and if nothing else changes or dictates changes then I’ll usually stick with that - especially in tournaments, when I’m trying to see kids. So, yeah, it changes it a lot. There are kids who didn’t get as many minutes as they would normally get.”
Three minutes after Nino tied the match, teammate Sophomore Jose Rivas broke away with a goal opportunity from close range, but he and the Braves’ Gavyn Crawford arrived at the ball simultaneously and both went down in front of the net. Crawford stayed down, requiring a clock stoppage, then was helped from the field. Nino had one more shot on goal before the match ended, one that just missed to the right.
In the first half, 17 minutes before the break, sophomore Mitchell Marchant speared a nice save for the Coyotes on a close-in Braves attempt. (Marchant and junior Jacob Perez again shared time, with each getting one half of play.) Two minutes later, senior Miguel Jaramillo and junior Kaleb Stewart combined to thwart another Community close-range shot on goal.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, Anna’s junior Jose Flores was taken down hard resulting in a penalty kick from 30 yards out. Rivas’ boot from there just missed high. To open the second half, Perez nabbed a save on a Community penalty kick from the right side and followed it with another, three minutes later, on a long ball.