By JON WEBB
GLASGOW — The Barren County boys soccer team may have beat Monticello 2-1 in their first game of the Trojan Classic tournament, but that doesn’t mean head coach Lawrence Nyekan is happy.
“We were kicking the ball like we were in soccer practice,” Nyekan said.
According to Nyekan, the team squandered several scoring opportunities Thursday night, especially in the first half. Although Monticello kept the ball in Barren’s zone for much of the first 10 minutes, the Trojans soon seized control and gave themselves multiple chances to put one past Monticello’s goalkeeper.
Tyler Hammer had three shots on goal within the first 13 minutes of the game.
Dillon Clark even had a breakaway chance at 25:40, but was foiled by Monticello’s aggressive goalkeeper.
Barren continued to swarm the Monticello net, with Justin Morris, Hammer and T.A. Wells all putting shots on goal.
Clark finally broke the 0-0 tie at 4:12 with a dead-on shot that went just beyond the goalkeeper’s reach.
The momentum didn’t last long, though. A mere 15 seconds later, a Monticello wing slipped behind Barren’s defense and put a shot into the back of the net.
Nyekan was visibly displeased with his team’s performance after the first half, but said he was impressed with their play in the second.
“I’m glad we came back in the second half,” Nyekan said. “We looked better.”
Barren extended their lead at 32:30 after a Max Edison goal from a Clark assist.
Although the Trojans’ intensity improved in the second half, missed opportunities continued to plague them.
Soon after the Edison goal, Hammer fired a centering pass to Jorge Gama, who missed the shot wide. Clark delivered the ball to Justin Beaty on a similar play a few minutes later, but Beaty kicked the ball high.
Thanks to their stingy possession of the ball, however (and ability to clear a late-in-the-game Monticello corner kick), Barren walked away with a win.
Nyekan said part of the team’s execution problems stemmed from “making things too difficult.”
“Once you play simply, the game opens up to you,” Nyekan said.
The pool-play portion of the Trojan Classic will continue Friday with games featuring Monroe County and Warren East, among others.
The boys portion of the Classic is divided into four pools that each consist of three teams, while the girls’ portion is divided into two pools consisting of three teams.
Pool play will conclude Saturday night, leaving Sunday open for the placing games. The boys championship game will be Sunday at 6:30 p.m. The girls will play two hours before.
The Trojans will next meet the third team in their pool, Taylor County, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
According to Nyekan, anything outside of a Trojan Classic championship would be considered a disappointment.
“We’re in the tournament to win,” Nyekan said. “Let me just say this: second place is not an option.”