SOCCER: Momence downs Trinity, extends winning streak
KANKAKEE — Judging by the hot streak its currently on, no one could guess Momence is only in its second year as a soccer program.
The Redskins play a tough, highly physical brand of soccer and possess the ball exceptionally well and collected their eighth-straight victory with a 5-1 win over Trinity on Tuesday.
“We work on player rotation a lot and I never restrict a player to a certain position,” Momence coach Alex Habeeb said. “Everybody knows what everyone is supposed to do and they momentarily assume each other’s positions. The boys have been playing fantastic and the goalkeeping has been outstanding over the last few games.”
Jared Espino and Junior Ramirez connected with the back of the net twice a piece to lead the charge for the Redskins.
Lizandro Varela also pushed a goal passed the line while Alan Lopez dished out two assists.
That type of balance is a slight part of what has made this team so successful this season.
“Jared scores a lot of goals and Junior is a great distributor,” Habeeb said. “However, a lot of our goals have come from different players this year and that’s something I’m very proud of. I always say that you defend with 11 players plus the bench and you attack the same way. There were six or seven one or two touch passes that took place before the goal was scored and that’s how we’ve been able to be successful so far.”
The Redskins currently sit at 10-5 on the season and a flawless 6-0 in league play.
That perfectly league play record has catapulted them to the top of the league alongside Grant Park, who they’ll play on Monday at home.
But before they look ahead to next Monday’s showdown, they travel to Braidwood to take on Reed-Custer on Thursday.
“I want us to do everything we did in this game, but better,” Habeeb said. “We moved the ball well and switched the field nicely. Defensively we were pretty solid aside that one goal late which I wasn’t too happy about. But as long as we continue improving, I can live with the results. Win or lose.”
On the fly
Trinity had a rough start to its season.
Goalie Colten Strahan suffered a fractured wrist, forcing the Eagles to do some shuffling and experiment.
Although Strahan is playing in the midfield with a cast, it’s impossible to replace experience in quite possibly the most important position in soccer.
However, freshman A.J. Langan has stepped up nicely and put forth a solid effort on Tuesday coming with eight saves on 16 Momence shots.
“He’s a fearless player,” Trinity coach Tim Farrell said. “He continues to learn about the game and improve game after game. There are some habits were trying to break and you can see the work he puts in to be better. His decision making has improved so much about knowing when to come out and stay in goal as well.”
The Eagles were able to get on the scoreboard late with a goal from Ethyn Graham with three minutes left in the game.
Although the team is 4-9, Farrell says the defense has come a long way and playing a tough team such as Momence shows the progress that’s been made.
“Our defense has become more solid, especially with our midfield play,” Farrell said. “We made some adjustments in the second half and it turned out to be a 1-1 game, which showed us that we can play with a team like Momence. They’re probably the toughest team we’ll face and it’ll only make us better once the ACSI tournament comes around.”
The Eagles are back in action on Friday at home against St. Anne.