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Johnson, defense lead Sikeston past Marion

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

(Photo)
Sikeston sophomore Tyler McClinton eyes a ball behind a Marion defender Tuesday against Marion, Ill., at the Sikeston Sports Complex in Sikeston. The Bulldogs won the game, 2-0. Chris Pobst, Staff
SIKESTON -- Knowing what's waiting on them Thursday, the Sikeston Bulldogs soccer team was comforted by their 2-0 win against Marion, Ill., Tuesday at the Sikeston Sports Complex.

Adam Johnson scored both of Sikeston's goals, their defense, including a shutout at goal by keeper Josh Hampton, was once again a silent killer and they have momentum leading up to their duel with visiting Notre Dame -- an always entertaining match that fell Notre Dame's way on penalty kicks last season 1-0.

"This win is big because I think it proves to Notre Dame that we're ready for them," Hampton said. "We're ready to get them this year."

Hampton, alongside Paul Hughes, Steven Baker and Patrick Smith anchor a solid defense that made Marion work for even the smallest opportunities they received.

"Our defense is very physical," Hampton said. "We like to push everybody off the ball and keep them off of it. We keep them off the ball and win it.

"We kept the ball square and we played the ball real well tonight."

Although their defensive efforts have been strong, the Bulldogs (4-2) have struggled with breaking through offensively this season.

It's partly due to the level of competition, but also finding the right balance between their speedsters up front.

"The first half, we weren't finishing and we weren't making a lot of the runs that we could make, but you can always play good defense and we did that," Noe said. "Those guys are kind of the unsung heros and they shut everything down Marion had."

Brandon Goodwin, who led Sikeston in goals scored last year as a junior, Tyler McClinton, Johnson, as well as others, are tasked with putting the Bulldogs on the board.

"We were a little more intense and motivated that second half," said Noe. They anticipated their runs and looked to finish.

"It was a great effort on Adam's (Johnson) part to get two goals like that. I told them that I needed another scorer and he stepped up big tonight."

The first half was filled with back and forth action with the offenses feeling themselves out against two unforgiving defenses.

The score was tied at nil after the first half.

"We were a bit more aware and had a little bit more of a purpose while we were out there other than just being out there," Noe said abut the differences of each half.

In the 47th minute, Sikeston finally broke through when Johnson, a sophomore, caught a pass from sophomore Audi Hay and rewarded the midfielder with the Bulldogs' first goal.

From then on, Sikeston controlled the tempo and possession.

Shot after shot pelted Marion's keeper and defense following Johnson's first goal. Goodwin received a penalty kick nearly three minutes after the goal, but missed left. Opportunities continued until Johnson scored again in the 37th minute with an assist from sophomore Layton Jones for the 2-0 lead.

"It was huge tonight to get some goals and get a little bit of momentum going into Thursday," Noe said. "There's a lot of good teams and a lot of good games going on this year. Marion is a good ballclub. They took Cape Central into overtime and Cape beat Notre Dame. Putting two goals on Marion and showing we can explode on offense quickly was good for our confidence. We'll see where we're at against them."

Sikeston will host Notre Dame Thursday with junior varsity beginning at 5 p.m. and varsity following directly after.

"I'm expecting them to not be as good as they were last year, but they're always good opponents and they're always going to be a good game.

"I'm ready for them."

Junior Varsity

Sikeston 5, Marion, Ill., 0

SIKESTON -- The Sikeston junior varsity soccer team also defeated Marion, 5-0, Tuesday at the Sikeston Sports Complex.

Chase Gaines scored two goals while Hunter Taylor, Andrew Pearson and Jared Boyd added the other three.

Sikeston's next game will be against the visiting Notre Dame Bulldogs Thursday at 5 p.m.


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