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Section 2A boys soccer: Worthington applies pressure, beats SWC

By AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- Jesus Bahena liked the pressure he saw from his teammates. A senior defenseman on Worthington's boys soccer team, Bahena and the second-seeded Trojans opened the Section 2A tournament with a 3-0 victory ove...

Trojan Soccer vs SW MN Christian web.jpg
Worthington's Chris Cerda is all smiles as he comes off the field and shakes hands with head coach Juan Flores after the close of the first half Saturday night in a Section 2A boys soccer game with Southwest Christian. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

By AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- Jesus Bahena liked the pressure he saw from his teammates.

A senior defenseman on Worthington’s boys soccer team, Bahena and the second-seeded Trojans opened the Section 2A tournament with a 3-0 victory over seventh-seeded Southwest Christian on Saturday.

“It was actually really great,” Bahena said. “We played good out there. In the beginning we started off with some high pressure and that’s what I liked.”

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Worthington advances to face third-seeded St. Peter on Tuesday. The Saints handed the Trojans a 3-2 loss on Oct. 2.

“I’m waiting for St. Peter,” Bahena said. “They beat us last time; it was just not our day. We have to stay where we played today, just high pressure, good passes and less mistakes.”

Since the moment that game ended, the Trojans -- who defeated St. Peter 7-1 on Sept. 11 -- have been waiting.  

“We talked about it after the loss we suffered against them,” WHS head coach Juan Flores said. “The kids had that in mind. Right after that game we lost, they said, ‘We hope we get them in playoffs.’ We got them in playoffs. We have the matchup that we want and it’s going to be a great game.”

The Trojans can sometimes struggle with quick starts. Not so on Saturday.

“We were motivated because we knew we had to come out big if we want to make it far,” WHS midfielder Anthony Euceda said. “It was a good start to the section.”

Euceda made sure it was a good start as he scored the game’s first goal six minutes in.

“I thought I was going to pass it and cross it. But I saw a gap and I just shot with my left,” Euceda said. “It felt good. It felt like it pushed our team to pressure more and helped us a lot.”

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WHS added a goal seven minutes later as Eh Kyoo scored on assists from Eric Knuckles and Jon Keodouangsy.

“We had the mindset of just trying to win,” Bahena said. “We’re playing like it’s our last game out here. That’s basically it, we’re just trying to win and get up to state.”

Knuckles scored in the second half with Keodouangsy assisting, giving WHS the 3-0 win.

“The intensity was there,” Flores said. “For the last week, we talked about coming out strong. We have to play every game from now on like it’s going to be our last game. They know that we have to start off strong every game from now on. If we want to get to where we want to get, we have to earn it, every single win. The kids got the message and it reflected on the field. We came out and we pressured.”

WHS controlled much of the action throughout with the midfield and defense as the SWC offense struggled to find any space.

“We just kept calm throughout the game,” Euceda said. “We moved the ball and talked and communicated. We just worked as a team.”

The Trojans had 20 shots on goal, while limiting the Eagles to four. Trojan Ben Lopez stopped all four shots he saw in net.

“Hats off to those guys, they are the ones that keep us together,” Flores said of his defense. “They are the glue to our team. They played a great game. It’s a team effort. They did their part defending and the guys up top did their part finishing.”

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It was the eighth shutout of the season for Worthington. Bahena credits that, in part, to the attackers he has to see in practice each day.

“We have great attackers that we practice with,” he said. “It’s harder for them to go against us. We usually practice passing, staying calm on the ball and looking up.”

Game time on Tuesday is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Trojan Field. In other section games, fourth-seeded Mankato East defeated fifth-seeded Marshall 4-1 and eighth-seeded Northfield upset top-seeded Faribault 2-1 in overtime.

“We’ve been ready,” Euceda said. “We just have to do the same thing we did today and we’ll be fine. We’ll pressure a lot more, move the ball and communicate, everything we did today we have to move it on to Tuesday.”

Southwest Christian 0 0 -- 0Worthington 2 1 -- 3

Trojan Soccer vs SW MN Christian 3 web.jpg
Trojan boys soccer player Eh Kyoo (12) beats Southwest Christian Eagles defenders Jacob Raak (21), Isaac Jasper (20) and Kade Fey (18) to score the second point in the first half of Saturday's Section 2A game in Worthington Saturday night. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

Related Topics: BOYS SOCCER
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