Despite playing uninspired soccer for most of the night, Madison County (3-3) topped Monroe Area 3-2 Tuesday to get back in the win column.
While the team’s play was fair-to-middling at best, coach Trevor Mangan was still happy his team came through in the clutch.
“Overall, the team did not play up to its potential, but they still scraped out a win, and I’m proud of the heart they showed,” Mangan said.
The Raiders trailed 2-1 with 35 minutes l before Jake Sapp and Ben Ortman rallied the team with two clutch scores.
“I was very disappointed in how we played for much of the game,” Mangan said.
Madison County started fast, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the first 15 minutes with a goal from Sapp.
“Jake Sapp did a great job finishing his opportunity after he got in behind the Monroe defense,” Mangan said.
But Madison County’s intensity lagged through the middle portion of the game, Mangan said, which allowed Monroe Area to pull ahead.
But Sapp tied the game with 12 minutes left, scoring on “sheer determination,” Mangan said, and Ortman scored off a header to put Madison County ahead for good.
Jason Bales came up with a clutch save in the closing minutes to preserve the win.
Mangan said Sapp played a great game, noting his two scores from the center midfield position, and added that Ortman took control of the game when the team trailed.
“His drive to win really pulled us through,” Mangan said.
The coach also noted the play of Brandon Wilson, who “did a good job running the right wing.”
The Raiders were perhaps much more impressive during a recent loss.
Madison County nearly upended ninth-ranked Salem, losing 1-0 Friday.
Had the team converted a few of its chances on offense, it would have pulled off a major upset.
Though his team was discouraged, Mangan wasn’t.
“The team was extremely disappointed to come up with a loss from a 15 second breakdown in the back,” Mangan said, noting Salem’s only score. “But I was very proud of how they played. It’s the best game the team has put together so far this year.
Most of the credit for Friday’s solid performance went to the defense, especially Spencer Baird, Russell Adams, Ben Larkins and Daniels Eubanks.
“Defensively, the back four had the best game they have put together as a unit so far,” Mangan said.
The coach also noted the efforts of goalkeeper Jason Bales, who he said had a great game, “stopping several breakaways that kept us in the game.”
Offensively, Ben Ortman hit the crossbar on a set piece that very nearly tied the game.
Mangan added that the Raider forwards did an “excellent job staying physical with a tough, big defensive unit.’
“I was very impressed with their gritty performance,” he said.
Madison County is still trying to make up three games it missed due to inclement weather.