SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. -- The Scottsbluff boys soccer team improved to 3-0 on the season after holding off Laramie, Wyo., 1-0 in a defensive battle Monday afternoon at the Landers Memorial Soccer Complex in Scottsbluff.
Coming off wins over Holdrege and Kearney Catholic on Saturday, the Bearcats kicked off their first home match of the season with a shaky first half against the Plainsmen. Despite the rugged terrain, though, Scottsbluff coach Nate Rock felt his squad found its comfort zone in the final half of play.
“The first half I thought we were a little shaky,” Rock said. “The field still has some aeration on it so it was a little bumpy, and we like to keep the ball on the deck. So, I thought we were a little bit jittery.”
The jitters didn’t seem to affect Randy Wentz, though, as the senior found the back of the net for an unassisted goal at the 27-minute mark of the first half, giving the Bearcats all the scoring they needed.
Although Scottsbluff held a slight edge after the first 40 minutes, Rock said that it was important for the Bearcats to play solid defense in the second half and maintain possession on offense.
“We talk about possession,” he said. “We know at the beginning of every half they’re going to be tough. Teams are going to come out tough against us and the best way to kill that momentum is to hold the ball, and I think we did a good job of that. I would say we had 60 percent of the possessions in the second half, so I was pleased.”
Anthony Parra, a senior mid-fielder for the Bearcats, said the Bearcat offense was tested early by the Plainsmen but felt his team made the proper adjustments in the second half to secure the win.
“In the first half they came with a lot more pressure than we were expecting,” Parra said. “Our first two games were a little bit easier because we got to possess, but [Laramie] came out and pressured and it really threw us off. We didn’t play our style like we wanted to, but after that first goal, we settled down and that’s when we started to possess; we started to move the ball more nicely.”
Rock was pleased with his squad’s ability to adjust to a tenacious Laramie team.
“Laramie is certainly the best team we’ve played so far, and I think our nerves showed; our youth showed a little bit,” he said. “But we settled down, and I thought we really played well.”
Both teams were even in corner kicks with five apiece. In addition, the Bearcats finished with nine shots on goal.
Scottsbluff will look to extend its perfect season today when it travels to Cheyenne to take on the Thunderbirds of Cheyenne East. The match will be Scottsbluff’s fourth in four days.
“We’ve got momentum going,” Rock said. “We’ve played three games in three days now so, hopefully, that’s not a huge factor.”