OTTUMWA – David Mederios was showing the wounds of a physical battle in the home opener for the Indian Hills men’s soccer team.
By the end of the day, Mederios limped off the field with both an ice pack and a victory in hand. Despite battling through a mid-match injury, Mederios broke the seal on a scoreless tie with a penalty kick 10 minutes into the second half as No. 18 IHCC improve to 3-0 with a 3-0 win over Anoka-Ramsey.
“We were really struggling in the first half. It seemed like we took about 50 shots and they didn’t have one,” Mederios said. “Coach told us we needed to come out in those first 10 minutes and get a goal on the board. We couldn’t let them get their hopes up. If we did, they could have stayed in the game all the way through. We had to win.”
It wasn’t quite 50 shots, but IHCC did have an overwhelming majority of the scoring chances in the scoreless first half. The Warriors had 18 of the 19 shots taken during the first 45 minutes, but were stopped either by one of the eight brilliant saves made by Anoka-Ramsey goal keeper Devan Thompson or not taking advantage of quality looks at the net.
“The guys just want to take the extra touch right now and the extra touch is what kills us,” Indian Hills head men’s soccer coach Juan Espinal said. “It kills the momentum. It kills the speed of play. Setting yourself up, when you create that extra inch or two of space, you should know where the goal is and the ball should be leaving your foot.”
Mederios finally earned an opportunity to put his foot on the first goal, converting after a foul was called in the box on the Rams. Just 20 minutes earlier in the match, Mederios was fouled on a tackle to the back of his legs, leaving the all-region sophomore hunched over in pain even as the Warriors were in the midst of a first-half scoring opportunity.
“I played the rest of the game with lots of pain,” Mederios admitted. “My groin, my hip and my back definitely were not at 100 percent.”
Mederios did his part in getting the Warriors back on track offensively. Damien Baltide and Gustavo Barroso both added goals over the next 27 minutes to help the Warriors salt away a home-opening win.
“We went down to Texas to open the season and got six points, two wins out of a 15-hour trip against good teams,” Espinal said. “Coming back home, we protect our house. Our feeling is that no one beats us here. The futbol we’ve played has been phenomenal so far. We just have to finish our chances and score earlier in games.”
Indian Hills will be back on the road Wednesday for a trip to Southeastern to face the Blackhawks in Burlington at 3 p.m. The 18th-ranked Warriors return home next Saturday to host Heartland on a busy day of athletes on the IHCC Ottumwa campus with Warrior women and men’s soccer as well as a home volleyball match taking place during the afternoon.