The Indian Hills men’s soccer team won its Sophomore Day match against Northeast Community College.
That was about all coach Juan Espinal could find positive about the outcome.
Four different players scored goals, and the Warriors built a commanding halftime lead before holding on for a 4-2 victory over the Hawks Saturday.
“We started strong and pressured them, and we were good early,” he said. “But we played down to their level most of the match. That’s the moral of the story.”
Indeed, Indian Hills (13-2-2) continually peppered Northeast goalie Ivan Castillo-Garcia with shots in both halves. Yet, he was up to the task to keep his team in it when it could have been much worse. The Warriors put up 26 shots on goal.
Still, the Warriors simply had more offense. The first two goals by Indian Hills in the first half came off set-pieces, just as the two had against Hawkeye Community College Wednesday.
Against Northeast, Damien Baltide fired a corner kick to the front of the net, and Diego Sada poked the shot into the net with a little help from the post for a 1-0 lead 17 minutes in.
Fourteen minutes later, Baltide sent another corner kick to the front of the net, and Sacha Vandersteene poked it into the net. Six minutes after that, Sada set up Takumi Semba for a 3-0 lead with eight minutes left in the half.
“I thought we had some guys really trying to do too much. I thought we could have been more creative in the final third (of the field),” Espinal said. “But we got complacent and didn’t make a lot of smart passes.”
Northeast got a goal back less than six minutes into the second half when Breno Neves slid a pass ahead to Rocky Guevara, who beat goalie Vinicius Cadengue.
Most of the rest of the match was played in Northeast’s half, with Castillo-Garcia turning away hard shot after hard shot, and the Warriors misfiring above and wide of the net as well.
After constantly testing Castillo-Garcia in the second half, the Warriors got an insurance goal as Baltide fired a shot past the goalie for a 4-1 lead with nine minutes left.
Then, the Hawks’ Victor Vechi scored on a penalty kick after a handball in the penalty area, but Northeast couldn’t get closer.
Espinal has been pleased with his sophomores, who are 24-6-3 in their two-year stay.
“This was my first recruiting class, and they have bought into the system we run here,” he said. “They’re just great kids on and off the field.”
The Warriors will be the second seed in the ICCAC tournament, and won’t play again until Oct. 30. Espinal said the rest will be good for his players.
“We have to get some guys healthy, but we have some things we have to sharpen,” he said. “We just have to keep sticking with our system for a full 90 minutes.”