Thomas More Prep-Marian’s soccer team played well enough in the second half to get a draw — if not its first win of the season — but once again put itself too far behind visiting Buhler in the opening half Tuesday at Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex.
Coach Darryl Wellbrock saw his team fall behind 3-0 by halftime on goals from Taiten Winkel, Cody Ely and Quentin Clapp. All three of the Crusaders first-half goals were scored after the 30th minute. The Monarchs rebounded, winning the second half 2-1 and had opportunities to score more but left with a 4-2 loss.
“I don’t know why we have to wait until we’re down by two or three goals to start playing,” Wellbrock said. “We played an awesome second half, and it shows. We could’ve had a chance at winning this if we wouldn’t have dug ourselves a hole.”
The Monarchs got within striking distance on Justyce Briney’s goal in the 67th minute before Buhler extended its lead to three again. Junior Hernandez capitalized on one of TMP’s many scoring opportunities late in the game, beating the keeper in the 78th minute. The Monarchs produced their best results when they started to utilize the width of field, working the ball inside and out and forcing the Crusaders to expend energy.
“We started doing that, spreading their defense out and then hitting the gaps, hitting the crosses,” Wellbrock said.
The Monarchs found themselves in promising situations throughout the first half as well but failed to find the right pass or shot at the end of an attack.
“We set up good scoring opportunities, but there was bad placement, bad shots right at the keeper,” Wellbrock said. “(The) things we need to work on, crossing and finishing instead of looking always at going right to the goal.”
TMP once again used two defensive midfielders as opposed to one holding and one attacking midfielder. The Monarchs first used the formation in a loss to Garden City earlier in the week, but it may not be their final look.
“I’m trying to move kids around and still find the best scenario,” the coach said. “Evidently, my formations not the best yet, but I think I’m getting closer. We’re tweaking it every game.”
TMP will look for its first win of the season against St. John’s Military Academy on Tuesday at Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex.
With a young team facing a daunting schedule throughout the rest of the season, the wins may not be frequent, but the potential is there.
“Winning a couple is going to be a big achievement,” Wellbrock said. “When we do, it’ll be big.”