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SPOTLIGHT
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Tiger soccer rolls

Published on -9/30/2012, 7:49 PM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

After a dismal second-half performance against No. 21 Lindenwood University on Thursday, the No. 9 Fort Hays State University men's soccer team squelched any doubts about its second-half tenacity against Southwest Baptist University.

The Tigers scored five goals in the second half to defeat SBU 7-0 on Saturday at FHSU Soccer Stadium.

"When we went to the dressing room, coach basically told us to play to our potential," junior defender Emmanuel Brown said.

It also was the Tigers' first shutout this season, as FHSU improved to 8-2 overall and 4-1 in the MIAA and SBU dropped to 1-9 and 0-5 in the MIAA.

"(Getting a shutout has) been something that's been a big concern of ours for a while," FHSU assistant coach Donovan Dowling said. "We talk about it every single day at practice and preach about it. Going into halftime, that was first and foremost our No. 1 concern."

Senior forward Tomas Mares, the reigning MIAA Player of the Week, was the man of the match. He scored two goals and had two assists.

The first half was fairly even, despite FHSU outscoring SBU 2-0. The Tigers finished with eight shots to SBU's five.

However, the second half was all Fort Hays, as the Tigers out shot the Bearcats 19 to two.

"The guys really turned it around and showed a lot of energy and quality with their touches," Dowling said. "They capitalized on their opportunities, which was good to see."

Mares started off the scoring for FHSU with a converted penalty kick in the eighth minute.

In the 21st minute, freshman forward Michael Cole put the Tigers up 2-0, when he raced down the field, received a pass from Mares and shot to the left of the goalkeeper.

"In the first half, we were pretty average to be honest," Dowling said. "There wasn't a whole lot of energy. We didn't really come out with the intensity that we can and the quality that we can."

Dowling said the Tigers gained more and more confidence throughout the match, as players attempted shots from long range and actually converted many of them.

Brown started off the long-range scoring with a 40-yard shot from the left side of the goal in the 54th minute.

Initially, Brown said he simply was planning to cross it into the box, but after noticing the goalkeeper had come out to knock away the cross, he aimed his shot for the right side of the goal.

SBU goalkeeper Austin Haywood got his hands on it but dropped it and ended up falling backwards into the goal. It was Brown's first goal of the season.

"I actually didn't know it went in at first," Brown said. "I saw the goalie's hands on it, so I thought he saved it. But then I saw Tomas running over to me, and yeah, I was excited."

Freshman forward Austin Clifton added the Tigers' fourth goal in the 60th minute. Standing on the edge of the penalty box, he curled the ball from the left side with his left foot into the right side of the goal.

Sophomore midfielder Tanner Brock scored his first goal of the season with a shot 10 yards outside of the penalty box just 46 seconds after Clifton's goal.

Clifton scored again in the 65th minute with a shot from the top of the box. Mares earned the assist.

Mares then capped FHSU's scoring in the 70th minute, receiving a pass from sophomore midfielder Diego Cabral and scoring to the left of the goalkeeper.

"We had a couple wonder goals out there, but it's not something we necessarily work on or want to see most of the time," Dowling said. "If the defender is not up on them and they get an open look, they are going to take those opportunities and make the most of them."

The Tigers played without sophomore defender Carlos Linares and junior forward Daniel Peralta.

Linares suffered a foot bruise against Lindenwood, and Peralta pulled his hamstring. Linares, who was on crutches, will see a doctor next week, but Dowling said Peralta's injury likely isn't serious and he should be back next week.

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