STORY AND PHOTOS BY CORA TASSET
After their 14-game regular-season winning streak last year, the Fort Hays State men’s soccer team came out on top against Rockhurst with a score of 3-0 on Thursday night. The Tigers and new head coach Gerry Cleary are now 1-0 on the regular season.
The opening goal of the season was scored 15 minutes into the first half by senior, Joey McCain (19), who took the pass, dribbled past a few defenders and scored on the right bottom corner. The Tigers led at the end of the first half 1-0.
The second goal of the game was scored off the block by senior, Sergio Villalba (13), with about 40 minutes left to play. The last goal of the night was scored with 15 minutes left in the game by sophomore, Alonso Rodriguez (10), with the assistance of junior, Ross Boyd (3).
While the Tigers offense worked hard and won the game, the defense played a strong game as well. The backline was held up by junior, Moritz Walther (20), and freshman, Alec Bevis (5) who both played the full 90 minutes. The goalkeeper for the Tigers, senior Cullen Fisch (1), made 5 saves for the team last night.
Senior, Joey McCain (19), scored the first goal of the season, “it felt pretty good and it helped my team get the win, and that is what matters.” McCain transferred to Fort Hays State from the University of Nebraska at Omaha to play soccer. “One of my buddies plays here and I saw that Fort Hays competed close to a national championship last year, and I wanted to be a part of something like that.” Joey believes that the first game went well and he is ready to move forward and see what the team can do next.
Coach Gerry Cleary arrived at Fort Hays on February 1st ready to be a head coach again. “I was an assistant coach at Division I California State University of Bakersfield, and when this job popped open I applied and luckily for me I got it.” Coach feels that the first game was okay for the beginning of the season, but they will be working harder in practice to do better in the next game. “Our team is older I thought we would do a little bit better, Rockhurst was a little bit younger and we should have been better, but that is okay. We have 17 more games and 14 conference games so we just need to dust the cobwebs off and that’s okay.”
Cleary believes if the team keeps working hard they will get what they deserve.
“Every other team in the country is working hard, so we will just keep working hard and hopefully do better than they did last year.”
The Tigers had a good opening match and will be traveling to Eastern New Mexico State on Sunday, September 8th. Tune in at 2 p.m. to see how the team will do in their next game against the Greyhounds.