Tiger freshman Jiroh Hatano netted his 6th goal of the season to help the 15th ranked MCC Tigers upset the 14th ranked Iowa Lakes CC Lakers in a match that was plagued by rain and wet playing conditions. The win is the 6th consecutive for Marshalltown and improves them to 11-1 overall on the season, 6-1 in ICCAC play. The Lakers, who were previously undefeated in conference play, fall to 10-2-1 overall and are now tied for 2nd in conference standings with Marshalltown behind the Iowa Central Tritons.
"I thought we played very well against a very talented and well worked team. I think our players understood what the game required and executed their actions close to perfection. Limiting a high scoring team like Iowa Lakes to one goal in a set piece was a great accomplishment that required a lot of work from us," MCC Head Coach Rafael Martinez stated.
MCC came out firing, opening the first half recording the first three shots of the match testing the Laker keeper Joshua Wilson early. Wilson's solid net play led to a swing in momentum, which resulted in several scoring opportunities for Lakes. In the 26th minute, sophomore goalkeeper Joel Serrano made an acrobatic save against the Laker attack keeping the match scoreless.
MCC struck first in the 31st minute when the Tiger midfield played a slotted ball in to freshman Kazuki Kimura who then found a streaking Rafael Vacas who connected on a one-time finish. The goal was the 11th on the season for Vacas, which is second best in the ICCAC. The assist ties Kimura for the team lead at 6, which is tied for second best in the conference. The Tigers took the 1-0 lead into the half.
It was evident that the Lakers made several halftime adjustments as they came out of the break dominant. They evened the match at one on a set piece just outside of the box. Laker midfielder Connor Goldsworthy found the head of Adam Pritchard to get Iowa Lakes on the board.
"They started the second half with more intensity and better ball control, so we suffered for a few minutes leading to their goal," Martinez reflected on the Laker goal. "After that we tried to take care of possession better so we could settle and start being ourselves again. I thought we did that and controlled most of the second half."
After the equalizer, the match saw back and forth play for the next 25 minutes. It was in the 73rd minute that Hatano put the Tigers in the lead for good. Fellow freshman Matheus Pereira played a long ball from the right side to find Hatano in the box. Hatano brought the ball down and was able to beat the keeper on the right side. The assist was Pereira's fifth on the year.
The Tigers would never look back, limiting scoring opportunities for the duration of the match. The Lakers only scoring attempt would be called back on an offsides penalty in the 75th minute.
"I am very proud of the performance but know that we still have a long road full of obstacles ahead of ourselves. We will get back to work on Monday to limit other teams from dominating possession as Iowa Lakes did at different parts of the match. We are a team that wants the ball, so we must find ways to ensure we have it more time than our opponent," Martinez remarked of the game plan moving forward.
The Tigers are back in action continuing ICCAC play on Tuesday as they travel to Norfolk, Nebraska to take on the Northeast Community College Hawks. Northeast is 4-6 on the season, 3-3 in ICCAC action.