Rockies end scoring drought, fall short of championship at Blueberry Fest Soccer Tournament
PLYMOUTH — Plymouth entered Labor Day weekend on a four-game scoring drought.
The Rockies brought a decisive end to that dry spell but a trio of late goals left the home team at 1-1-1 for the Blueberry Festival Tournament at Kindt Soccerplex.
Plymouth opened the tournament with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss Saturday to Marquette, which went on to win the A Flight.
The Blazers scored on a pair of penalty kicks to rally past Plymouth, including a pk on a handball in the box in the 79th minute to claim the narrow win.
“That was tough,” said Plymouth boys soccer coach Josh Martin. “You can always question the referee — we felt that that ball skipped off the deck a little bit and the ball played the hand a little bit more than (Austin) Rose’s hand playing the ball, but referees make calls and whether you like them or not, you’ve got to deal with them. We thought we’d still be able to manage that tie even a man down, but it did change the complexion of the game.”
The Rockies rebounded with a 4-3 win over Lakeland Christian later in the day, however.
Alex Orellana netted Plymouth its first goal on a Zach Stone assist in the fifth minute to give the Rockies the initial advantage, and Collin Deon broke a 1-1 tie in the 42nd minute when he scored on a Kyle Vanlue assist.
Vanlue’s goal in the 64th minute knotted the game at 3-all, and Gonzalo Figueroa lifted Plymouth to victory with an unassisted strike in the 71st minute to bring the score to its final margin.
It was a morale-boosting win for Plymouth, which hadn’t won in five games and was playing without defender Kyle Barry and forward Joe Smith after both were red-carded in the physical Marquette match.
“Not having those guys — Barry is a lot of our strength, Joe Smith’s got some great speed and can threaten the goal for us,” said Martin. “Especially after a battle like that in the morning, you’ve got tired legs and tired minds, and it’s nice to see the guys bounce back.”
“We showed some resiliency and ended up finishing that one off. That was key for us,” he added.
Plymouth again took the early lead on a Vanlue solo goal in the Rockies’ tournament finale with Mishawaka Monday. A pair of Deon goals gave the home team a 2-1 edge coming into the game’s final minutes, but Mishawaka was able to score two goals off a pair of free kicks late to force a 3-3 draw.
“We’ve been struggling with some decisions around our box,” Martin said. “We gave up a couple of free kicks that we shouldn’t have given up, and their two goals that they scored late in the game to tie up were both free kicks. We were a little disappointed as a coaching staff that we were making fouls — good defense would have just kept them away. They weren’t really sending very many dangerous balls in our box during free play, and for us to give up so many opportunities off of set pieces obviously was one of the problems that let them back in.”
While the Rockies were hoping for a higher finish at the Blueberry Tourney, the team had plenty of positives to take away from the tilt.
Vanlue finished the long weekend with two goals and an assist after making the move from the backfield to forward last Thursday, while first-year Culver Community transfer Deon netted a trio of scores as the Plymouth offense finally broke through after a four-game scoring drought.
“We’ve moved (Vanlue) from the back and we put him up front. We want to use his speed, we want to use his left foot,” said Martin. “He had an assist and two goals this weekend, and I think that’s really good for him. We just moved him up at the Goshen game, so for him to have a weekend like that was really important because we want him to have some confidence going into the Argos game.”
“(Deon) has worked really hard in training and been willing to come off the bench,” continued the Plymouth skipper. “He’s fighting for a starting spot. He’s got some really great speed and obviously he showed his ability to finish for some goals this weekend. We’re hoping that he can fill some of that scoring gap for us, and we’re excited to have him.”
The Rockies are hoping to carry some momentum over to their home match-up against area rival Argos and the Dragons’ dynamic offense Wednesday.
“I think overall, we didn’t get shut out any games; we had a lot of guys get on the scoring board and some guys getting some really good-looking assists. I think building confidence for us offensively was really important. Even though we dropped that Marquette game and tied today, I felt like our defense played pretty solid… Just a couple of little letdowns at the end of the game, and I think as we get closer to the end of the season I think we’re going to be able to clean those letdowns up and be a really competitive team,” said Martin.
“With the exception of having some tired legs going into Argos, I think it kind of helped us knock off some rust. We played a couple of really potent offenses… We know that they’ve got a couple guys that are really proficient around the goal that we’re going to have to make sure that we keep track of. I think there were some parallels for this weekend moving into the next game on our schedule.”
• BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL TOURNAMENT
A flight winner: Marquette
B flight winner: Logansport
A flight: MARQUETTE 2, PLYMOUTH 1; PLYMOUTH 4, LAKELAND CHRISTIAN 3; MISHAWAKA 5, LAKELAND CHRISTIAN 3; MARQUETTE 4, MISHAWAKA 3.
B Flight: LOGANSPORT 4, CLAY 0; KANKAKEE VALLEY 10, WINAMAC 0; KANKAKEE VALLEY 5, CLAY 0; LOGANSPORT 4, WINAMAC 0.
PLYMOUTH 3, MISHAWAKA 3
P — Kyle Vanlue, minute unkown
P — Collin Deon, 72nd minute
P — Deon, 74th minute
Shots on: Mishawaka 10, Plymouth 10
Saves: Mishawaka 7, Plymouth 7 (Sam Stone 2, Lee 5)
Record: Plymouth 2-4-3
PLYMOUTH 4, LAKELAND CHRISTIAN 3
P — Alex Orellana (Zach Stone), 5th minute
LC — name not available, 17th minute
P — Deon (Vanlue), 42nd minute
LC — not available, 61st minute
LC — not available, 62nd minute
P — Vanlue, 64th minute
P — Gonzalo Figueroa, 71st minute
Shots on: Lakeland 5, Plymouth 14
Saves: Lakeland 10, Plymouth 3 (Lee)
MARQUETTE 2, PLYMOUTH 1
P — Clay Marshall, 7th minute
M — Name not available (PK), 65th minute
M — Name not available (PK), 79th minute
Shots on: Marquette 6, Plymouth 5
Saves: Marquette 4, Plymouth 4 (Zach Lee)
Red cards: Kyle Barry, Joe Smith