Keranko scores, but Rochester boys soccer falls to Maconaquah
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
BUNKER HILL — R.J. Keranko broke up Maconaquah’s shutout bid in the second half, but the host Braves beat the Rochester boys soccer team 7-1 on Sept. 20.
Tyler Reese had an assist for the Zebras, who fell to 3-10-1 and finished Three Rivers Conference play 0-6. They were outscored 33-6 in TRC games.
Parker Wallace had 13 saves in goal.
This was Rochester’s last of two regular season games on turf. Rochester is in Class 2A, Sectional 22, which will be played on a turf field at Wabash from Oct. 3-8.
“We were 3-0 at half, and I thought we played them tough,” Rochester coach Eric Backus said. “We made a couple mistakes on the defensive side of the ball, not tracking guys. But I thought in the first half, we played pretty decent. Parker had a couple of really amazing saves, and they had a couple hit a crossbar, that type of thing where you get a little bit lucky.
“But the two games we played on turf, we played fairly decent. It’s just taken us a little too long to get used to how the ball bounces and how quickly it rolls on the turf. … This is a good warmup for our first sectional game.”
Backus said the team came out “extremely flat” to start the second half.
Isaac Lorenz, Bennett Isenburg and Bauer Maple had two goals each for Maconaquah, who improved to 10-1 overall and 4-0 in the TRC. Lorenz also had three assists, and Isenburg had two helpers.
Zach Sparks contributed a goal and an assist.
Maconaquah was coming off a 1-0 loss to Mississinewa five days earlier, which broke their season-opening nine-game winning streak.
Backus was hired in July, less than a month before the first practice. He said he is taking the blame for the first four games of the season, as they were unable to hold any summer scrimmages and he was trying to build a list of coaching contacts.
He said he and the coaching staff are working on team-building activities, including a team outing bowling and a trip to a Notre Dame men’s soccer game, as ways to build team chemistry. He said he’s trying to get players to remain excited and motivated.
“We’re just struggling,” Backus said. “The kids are getting down. … We’ve got to try to switch that to where that’s not happening.”