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  • Val T.

Davis scores off corner kick, leads Rochester past Culver


Sports Editor, RTC

Parker Wallace

CULVER — Wyatt Davis scored off a corner kick in the first half to lift the Rochester boys soccer team to a 1-0 win over host Culver Tuesday.

His kick deflected off Culver goalkeeper Landon Stevens’ foot and past the goal line and off the side of the net.

Rochester coach Eric Backus liked the number of scoring opportunities his team had, but he did not like their finishing.

Rochester is 5-10, and they have scored 16 goals in their 15 games. They were playing their fourth game in four days, splitting two games at the Winamac tournament Saturday and losing 3-0 at John Glenn on Monday.

“Seventeen shots on goal is fun, but one conversion is not,” Backus said. “I don’t really know what to say. I feel like the score should have been a lot more. We did play a tough match against John Glenn last night, but it’s just frustrating seeing certain shots taken that shouldn’t have been; they should have been laid off to a wide-open teammate.

“We’ve just got to get better. We’ve got to get a lot better when we go to play (Tippecanoe) Valley in the first round of sectionals.”

Davis agreed that the team did not play well.

“We have not practiced corner kicks at all, and my goal, to be honest, was pretty terrible,” Davis said. “It rolled off both my feet and luckily curved in. I’m not very happy with it and not very happy with how we played.”

Culver relies on speedy juniors David Hite and Joe Callender. Senior Reese Herrell patrols the midfield. They fell to 0-9 on the season.

“We had a couple of good chances,” Culver first-year coach Adam Neace said. “I’d still like to possess the ball instead of playing that boot ball. … It’s something we’re learning. It’s something we’re getting better at. Again, a couple chances just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Backus made lineup changes, starting Spencer Backus and Davis in the front line. He said he wanted to take goalkeeper Parker Wallace out of the net and try him at forward but said Wallace is too good as a keeper and a 1-0 lead was too precarious to risk it.

“We’re working back to the ball, nobody’s behind us, and we’re taking our touches away from goal,” coach Backus said. “I was just like, ‘What are we doing, boys? Why are we not turning and taking a shot? That’s why I put you up there, to turn and take a shot.’ … You explain to them what you want, and you explain to them what you’re trying to get out of it, and they still don’t want to do it. They’re set in their ways.”

Davis, a junior, scored two goals in his first two varsity seasons combined. He leads the team with four goals this year. He said the team has better chemistry than last year.

“Last year, I played defense all year, and then this year, I moved up to midfield and played striker some,” Davis said. “It’s changed a lot because last year, we had Mitchell (Shafer) and R.J. (Keranko), and they helped a lot offensively, and now I feel like we don’t have that strong of an offense anymore, and I don’t have as many people to help in support.”

Rochester’s scheduled game with Lakeland Christian was postponed from Thursday at Grace College to Saturday at Rochester and then canceled entirely. That means the Zebras will have a full week to prepare for their sectional quarterfinal game against Valley at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at Fort Wayne Concordia.

Rochester lost to Valley 2-0 in their regular season meeting on Sept. 13.

Coach Backus said senior Braden Krom missed the game with a leg bruise suffered against John Glenn, but he said he hopes to have him back for the sectional. Adarius Ranstead returned for the Culver game, but he had missed time with a right ankle injury. Junior Braydn Furnivall also played with a limp.

“They’re not going to take it easy on us, so we’ve got to get healthy as quickly as we can,” Backus said.

As for Culver, they had another home game against Oregon-Davis Wednesday before getting a week to prepare for rival Argos in a Class 1A, Sectional 35 semifinal on Oct. 4.

Neace was asked about what it would take for Culver to reach the level of the Culver girls soccer team. The Culver girls are 12-2-1 and ranked No. 18. A.J. Neace, Adam’s brother, coaches the Culver girls.

“We talk about that probably every single day,” Adam Neace said. “He’s been very, very fortunate with his youth program and what he’s done in the last four years bringing girls up. He’s got (Giselle) Villegas who’s number one in the nation scoring goals. I know a lot of people like to talk about his schedule and stuff like that, but as a tactical player, she’s one of the best in the area without a doubt.”

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