Friday night’s 8-0 win over Hibbing Community College served not only as a good way to start the season, but was also a good barometer on where the Riverland Community College Soccer team stands early in the year.
The Blue Devils (1-0) scored three times in the first half with two of those coming on penalty kicks. They added five more in the second half in fairly quick succession to put the game well out of reach.
“It went well,” head coach Soner Dogan said afterward. “(The players) were testing their positions, and we wanted to see if they could apply what they’ve learned in practice to real games.”
- Riverland's Sam Scheffler avoids the slide tackle of Hibbing's Carl Pearson during the first half Friday night at Wescott Athletic Complex. - Eric Johnsonemail@example.com
The Blue Devils had several rushes early that included prime scoring opportunities, but shots either went off target or were stopped by the hot play of Hibbing goalie Cody Johnson.
“I think some of it was they might have been kind of nervous,” Dogan said, referring to first game jitters.
“We need to work on our forward’s finishing touches. We cannot afford to miss so many clear goal scoring chances in other games,” he said.
RCC finally got past Johnson on the first of two penalty kicks, set up when a Hibbing player was called for a hand-ball in the penalty area.
Rafael Bellon scored on the ensuing kick in the 19th minute to make it 1-0. Bellon would go on to tally a second goal in the second half in the 46th minute.
Sam Scheffler, who also scored twice on the night in the 28th and 58th minutes, made it 2-0 when he deflected a shot off the post into the far corner.
RCC’s final goal in the first half also came on a penalty kick. Bellon broke free on a breakaway, but his initial shot was blocked by Johnson. However, Johnson interfered with Bellon as he was trying to recover, earning RCC the penalty kick.
Diego Luz took the shot and scored right of Johnson in the 33th minute.
Luz would score again in the second half in the 58th minute and both Pedro Herera and Jesus Ledesma added goals as well in the 58 and 59th minutes.
Ledesma’s goal was his first ever goal in his first ever official soccer game.
RCC out-shot Hibbing 40-5 on the night and even though he didn’t see many shots, Daunt Ortiz earned Dogan’s praise.
Ortiz, a scoring threat when he played for Austin High School, stepped in between the posts when RCC found themselves without a goalie.
“He wasn’t supposed to be our keeper,” Dogan said. “He stepped up, and I’m happy with his performance.”
RCC isn’t at home again until Sept. 5 when they host Finlandia University for a noon match.
- Riverland's Rafael Bellon collides with Hibbing goalie Cody Johnson in the first half Friday night at Wescott Athletic Complex. The collision resulted in a penalty kick for RCC. - Eric Johnsonfirstname.lastname@example.org