Soccer 'Cats place fourth in tourney

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Cassville Wildcat soccer team finished fourth in the Willard Soccer Tournament this past weekend.

The team opened tournament play with a big 3-0 win over rival New Covenant Academy of Springfield. Uziel Franco scored two goals and Luis Ortega finished out the scoring when he converted a penalty kick.

Michael Rush proved to be the true hero of the game. He was fearless in goal for the Wildcats and stopped an onslaught of shots by New Covenant. As a result of his performance, Rush had to go to the emergency room following a collision with a New Covenant offender.

"Michael had a great game against New Covenant and made a real difference," said Coach Brian Wilbanks.

Following the win over New Covenant, Cassville fell to Bolivar 5-1 and then lost to Monett 2-0 in the third place game. Franco scored the lone goal against the Liberators, who Cassville beat last year to claim the district championship.

In addition to tournament action, the Wildcats also faced off against College Heights and Monett last week.

Cassville downed College Heights 10-0. Franco scored six goals to tie the school record for goals scored in a game set by Ryan Schlichtman in 2006. Franco was also credited with an assist in the win.

Jesus Rivera tallied three goals and one assist in the win and Oto Franco scored one goal. Omar Valenzuela recorded one assist and Ortega had two.

Against Monett, the Wildcats suffered a frustrating 0-4 loss. Both teams were credited with seven shots on goal but Monett was able to get their shots past the Cassville goalkeepers.

The Wildcats had the chance to take the lead in the first half when Cassville was awarded a penalty kick. Franco took the shot and Monett's goalkeeper came up with a big save to keep the score knotted at 0-0 going into the second half of play.

Monett was able to score four goals in the second half to claim the win. At least one of the goals was an "own goal" by Cassville.

"We are having some success, but we keep getting knocked back by suspensions and injury, which we hope will end," said Coach Wilbanks. "We have lost only game when we have had everyone on the field."

Currently, the Wildcats are 7-5 on the season. The squad will face a big test next Thursday when they travel to Carthage to play the Tigers who have always been good competition for the 'Cats.

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