SOUTH BEND - South Bend Adams broke open a tie ball game with three second-half goals in five minutes to defeat Plymouth, 4-2, in the Class 3A Sectional 3 boys soccer championship game at TCU School Field Saturday.
“The better team won this time. They played better than us,” said Plymouth head coach Grant Masson.
The Eagles got on the board quickly, with a header off a deflection in the fifth minute, but the Rockies responded when Adrian Cardona centered the ball to Brian Licona, who buried the equalizer in the 23rd minute. The game remained tied, 1-1, into halftime, but things changed suddenly in the second half.
Adams kicked a 60-yard boot towards the goal on a restart, and when Plymouth tried to chip it back out, the Eagles’ Connor McKenna blasted in a shot from 25-yards out for the 2-1 lead. Four minutes later, McKenna made a steal deep in Rockies real estate and scored again for a 3-1 lead.
“The game plan was to stay close to #10 (Connor McKenna), but we let him loose,” admitted Masson. “He ate us up. He was too quick for us. We were banged up in the back and that showed up when they put pressure on us. We had people playing positions they weren’t used to playing. I’m not making excuses, but we could have played a whole lot better. Our clearances weren’t where they were supposed to be.”
Only a minute after McKenna’s two goals, Michael Bellina scored after another long restart and suddenly there was a three-goal gap.
“The wind played a huge part because you didn’t know where the ball was coming down and when it did come down it ended up on a blue foot (Adams) instead of a white foot (Plymouth),” Masson added. “They knew where our strength was and made sure to put a body on Selvin (Pagoada) every time he got the ball.”
The Rockies finished with a record of 8-9-2, but will have most of its core players back.
“Obviously, I’m bummed that we didn’t do better (in the final), but I look at what we’ve got for next season and I’m thrilled,” concluded Masson. “What we have coming back I think we’ll be back in the (sectional finals) and I think we’ll have a different score next time.”
SB ADAMS 4, PLYMOUTH 2
At South Bend
A - Micah Fourman 5th min.
P - Brian Licona (Adrian Cardona) 23rd min.
A - Connor McKenna 45th min.
A - McKenna 49th min.
A - Michael Bellina 50th min.
P - Jose Rosas 60th min.
Shots: Plymouth 19, SB Adams 14
Saves: Plymouth 4 (Nate Hutsell), SB Adams 6 (Coen Coen)
Fouls: Plymouth 19, SB Adams 9
Corner kicks: Plymouth 9, SB Adams 3
Yellow cards: Plymouth 1 (Cardona), SB Adams none
Red cards: Plymouth 1 (Truitt)