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SPOTLIGHT
Shorthanded Monarchs dealt 10-2 loss by Dodge City

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Shorthanded Monarchs dealt 10-2 loss by Dodge City

Published on -9/26/2012, 10:59 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Heading into the match against Dodge City, Thomas More Prep-Marian boys' soccer coach Shawn Lawson knew the Red Demons were going to be difficult.

Dodge City (6-4-1) is a tough Class 6A soccer team that's defeated defending 5A state champion Liberal, and it didn't help TMP was without two of his best players.

TMP seniors Rodney Gracas de Deus, midfielder, and Robert Niyonsaba, forward, were suspended until Oct. 19 for a violation of school and team policy.

"It hurts," Lawson said.

The Red Demons crushed the Monarchs 10-2 on Tuesday at TMP Field. TMP dropped to 3-6.

Playing without Deus and Niyonsaba, who combined to score nine goals so far this season, the Monarchs had to rotate their lineup, moving senior center back Carlos Duenes from the back line to the midfield and transitioning to a 4-2-3-1 formation, using two defensive midfielders.

"We are going to have to play more of a defensive game," Lawson said.

The Monarchs' lineup always has been full of underclassmen, but without Deus and Niyonsaba, the inexperience was even more evident.

Against Dodge City, Duenes dashed back and forth from the back line to the front line, communicating with his teammates and telling them where to go.

"What do you do?" Lawson said. "Adversity creates opportunity. ... Somebody is getting playing time that wouldn't. A year or two down the road, it is going to benefit us. That's how I have to look at it."

The Monarchs quickly fell behind and trailed 6-0 at halftime and were in danger of getting mercy ruled -- something that hasn't happened to the program in more than four seasons.

However, TMP clamped down on defense and managed to move the ball forward at times. Dodge City only outscored the Monarchs 4-2 in the second half.

"We came together a little bit better at the end," sophomore midfielder Lane Fisher said.

"We are still a little rough. We have a young team, but we are getting better. We'll just keep working hard."

Fisher scored the Monarchs' first goal in the 61st minute.

Down 8-0, TMP freshman Fernando Gonzalez blasted the ball near the goal, but the ball bounced off the side post and ricocheted off Fisher's face into the goal.

"It felt great when it scored, but afterwards, it hurt a little bit," Fisher said.

Duenes tallied TMP's second goal in the 77th minute. Duenes stole the ball from a Dodge City defender and kicked it into the left side of the goal to narrow the Red Demons' lead to 9-2.

However, Dodge City quickly responded with a goal by Mario Lopez in the 79th minute to make it an eight-goal lead.

"I knew going in it was going to be tough," Lawson said. "Even with Rodney and Robert, it was going to be tough."

As long as Deus and Niyonsaba have no further school policy violations and continue to attend practice, they will be eligible to resume competition in time for the Class 4-1A regional tournament.

Fisher said the team just needs to get used to players in different positions and do what is best for the team.

"It will be something to work on, but we'll figure it out," Fisher said.

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