Alcoa goals come quick in district victory
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The snow flurries might have been falling faster than the Alcoa goal flurries Monday night but the Tornadoes were sticking it much better than the on again, off again flakes falling under the lights of Bill Bailey Stadium.
Alcoa senior Mario Orihuela started the soccer equivalent of a Harlem Scoring Shake off an assist from Franco Zermeno in the second minute and all the Tornadoes joined in to take a convincing 9-0 District 4-A/AA win over visiting Oliver Springs.
Austin Wallace broke out his scoring shake in the third minute taking a ricochet off the keeper and spinning it through the left side for a 2-nil lead. But after the stunning start, the Tornadoes went cold despite keeping total control. Not until Bobcat defender Mike Goldblatt tried to clear one of the 28 Alcoa shots on goal out of the box did things heat back up for the Tornadoes (4-0, 2-0 District 4-A/AA). Goldblatt got all of his leg behind the clear at the edge of the midbox only to see the blast bounce off of and level Alcoa’s Keith Fletcher. The Tornado sophomore barely had time to roll over on the ground to see the high-arching ricochet drop just over the surprised keeper’s hands and fall in for a 3-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
It was just that kind of night for an Alcoa squad somewhat inspired for the snow after watching the U.S. victory over Costa Rica Friday night when the current storm front over Tennessee was then dumping snow on Colorado.
“I think the guys were looking forward to it, I think most of them watched the U.S. team Friday night,” Alcoa coach Shane Corely told The Daily Times. “I had several messages today asking if we were going to play in snow. I said, ‘yeah as long as it isn’t dangerous, we’ll play.’”
Nathaniel Brandt, just back to the pitch from a broken collarbone, took a ricochet corner and cleaned it up for the fourth Tornado goal in the 25th minute before Zermeno added the first of his two goals on a penalty kick in the box for a hand ball. The junior executed a perfectly timed stutter to his step to drop the one-on-one kick for the fifth and final Alcoa goal before the break, netting in the 36th minute. Zermeno added his second score in the 73rd, again one-on-one with the keeper, this time on a breakaway play to equal Orihuela, who made it 8-0 in the 61st cleaning up another corner.
“That’s what we want Mario to do. We’ve moved him around several times already but his home is going to be in the middle because he can distribute, he can create a lot of havoc out of the middle for us,” Corely said.
Ramsey Walsh led off the Alcoa scoring out of half with a timely and friendly placed assist from Wallace. The junior, who carries the nickname of “Corn” after a middle school moment in U.S. History class, got his own goal from sheer dogged persistence in the 56th minute. CornWallace just kept after the ball after his first two shots were blocked but not held and got the third shot of the sequence to finally push the net back for a 7-0 advantage.
It was the kind of effort and play Alcoa has been looking for with a short roster heavy on underclassman. The soccer T’s allowed one a pair of plays by keeper Nick Moore as Oliver Springs (2-3, 2-2) failed to get off a real shot on the Alcoa goal.
“Really just trying to keep the guy’s focused, the challenge to them before the game was not to play down. Our tendency last year in a game like this was score and then slack down and play to the competition so the challenge now is to play to our level the entire time,” Corely said. “They did a pretty good job of that. We had a couple lulls in the first half that I wasn’t too happy with, but did better in the second half.”
The Tornadoes have a three-match week slated that includes returning to the pitch at 6 p.m. tonight to host Loudon in a district match.
“It’s important right now, we have a lot of young guys, six freshman on the team, and getting them and a couple of the sophomores that haven’t played a lot of minutes yet in there. We’re going to need that down the road,” Corely said. “The other key thing about resting some of the starters tonight was coming back out (today) against Loudon. They played some good games against us last year. I think we took two matches off of them but as far as competition, they’re a good team to play.”