The Thomas More Prep-Marian boys soccer team notched its first win of the season, pulling out a grueling, high-scoring match against Towanda-Circle.
The Monarchs and Thunderbirds combined for 13 goals, with TMP outlasting Circle 7-6 on Thursday at TMP.
The Monarchs moved to 1-3 on the season after three straight lop-sided losses.
"We need to have some success, otherwise you can’t see the improvement," TMP coach Shawn Lawson said. "I mean, I can see improvements each game, but the guys, in the end, this is the big improvement we see, any kind of win. They take that home and they keep coming back."
Neither team had many substitutes available, leaving players from both sides gassed down the stretch in the heat. Circle scored with about nine minutes left but TMP had enough left in the tank to hold off the Thunderbirds.
"We don’t have a lot of people," Lawson said. "It’s nice to get the win. If I could have gone out there and played for some of those guys and gave them a breather I would have. Some of them needed it bad. I would rather have it 1-0 than 7-6.
"They pulled it out. We only had two subs. I’ve got three coming back next week so it will be better. The score looks like a low-scoring football game. Miss an extra point."
The match was a roller-coaster for both teams.
Nathan Wechsler put the Monarchs on the board with the first of his three goals. Circle answered to tie it up before Carlos Tinoco put TMP back in front with about 19 minutes left in the first half.
Mike Pritchett scored with 20 seconds left before halftime to give the Monarchs a 3-2 lead at the break.
The high scoring continued in the second half. Nathan Wechsler scored the first two goals to make it a 5-2 game. Circle answered with back-to-back goals but a shot from TMP’s Jensen Brull eked a shot past the keeper to make it 6-4 with 23:17 left.
After another Circle goal, Tinico scored again with 11:02 left to put the Monarchs back up by two. Circle made it a one-goal game again with 8:54 left, but the Thunderbirds couldn’t find the equalizer.
Lawson said the Monarchs were able to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them by Circle miscues.
"Some of it was mistakes on their side, but we were capitalizing on their mistakes, and we haven’t been able to do that because of the quality of mistakes we’re playing against," Lawson said. "We were creating some of it, some of it was created for us."
With several bigger schools on the schedule, Lawson said playing Circle was a good matchup for the Monarchs.
"This is the kind of competition I like," Lawson said. "The Garden Citys, we love playing them, but we don’t ever seem to get very far against Garden City, Dodge City, some of the bigger schools. I like this kind of competition for us, especially when we’re young, when we’re new. It’s good for them. I just see so many more things we need to work on."
Joey Mindrup had two assists for the Monarchs while Nicholas Hermann and Tinoco each had an assist.
The Monarchs will play at home against Liberal at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.