Tigers hold off Rockets

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Marshall County's Luis Zarate fires a shot on Forrest's net after dribbling around the Rockets' Andrew Charles in the first half. Photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

On Thursday night, the Marshall County Tigers (6-4-2, 2-1-1 District) defeated archrival Forrest for the third straight time on the pitch when they claimed a hard fought 3-1 victory over the Rockets in Chapel Hill.

Marshall County held a 2-0 lead at the break, but Forrest (1-6, 1-4 District) made things interesting in the second half and scored a goal midway through the stanza to slice the deficit to 2-1. The Tigers, though, fended off the challenge from the Rockets and put the game away by tallying a goal with two minutes left in regulation to clinch their second consecutive win.

"You know anytime Forrest and Marshall County play that it's going to be a battle no matter what the sport is," said first-year Rocket coach Jonathan Michael, who is a 1993 graduate of MCHS. "They beat us by a couple of goals, but I was proud with how hard my team played tonight. We've made a lot of progress since the start of the season."

Forrest's Jonathan Anderson tries to dribble around Marshall County's Victor Palma after settling a pass from a Rocket teammate.

Although Marshall County failed to capitalize on several close range scoring chances, the Tigers kept the ball in Forrest's defensive zone for much of the game and outshot FHS 18-9 overall.

Andres Acosta tallied two goals to lead MCHS' offensive attack, while David Martinez scored once. Ivan Leyva and Brad Pippen each registered an assist for the Tigers as well.

"I was very happy with the way my team played. They did exactly what I wanted them to do. We were a little unlucky with hitting the net, but we had a lot of nice sequences and moved the ball well," said Marshall County coach Lisa Raffo.

Angel Reyes notched the Rockets' lone goal of the contest, while Jonathan Anderson attempted a team high four shots.

Tiger goaltender Jonathan Salinas turned in a solid performance and finished with five saves. Chris Haggard started the game in net for Forrest and recorded three saves before being replaced in the second half by Spencer McGuiggan, who finished with eight saves.

It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Rockets early on, as Marshall County took a 1-0 lead just one minute into the contest when Acosta took a pass from Leyva on the right hand side of the field and lined a close range shot just inside the near post.

The Tigers failed to cash in on their next four scoring chances, but found the back of the net again in the 31st minute to open up a 2-0 advantage. After Haggard was unable to cleanly handle a 25-yard direct kick by Acosta, Martinez hustled to the ball and fired in a shot from point blank range.

In the second half, McGuiggan made three nice saves in the first 15 minutes of the stanza to keep the margin at two before Salinas made a diving stop on a direct kick by Reyes in the 59th minute.

Reyes finally got Forrest on the board in the 63rd minute when he beat a MCHS defender on the right hand side of the field and rifled a 12-yard shot into the upper left hand corner of the net to whittle the deficit to 2-1.

Salinas then stopped a low skidding shot by Andrew Charles in the 71st minute to maintain the Tigers' tenuous one goal lead before Acosta sealed Marshall County's' 3-1 victory by blasting a close range shot past McGuiggan in the 78th minute after Pippen headed the ball to him in the middle of the field.