Hillcrest FC 5 – 7 Jesus Maneuver
’15 Carlo Furlan
’26 Grady Dillon
’33 Travis Connell
’38 Evan Otterholt
’43 Colton Debruin
It will go into the record books as a loss but Hillcrest FC walked away from Monday night’s game with their heads held high. In what was certainly a game that could be seen as a mark of progress, Hillcrest showed their improvement by out playing Jesus Maneuver the entire second half. In their first game of the season, Hillcrest lost to Jesus Maneuver, 10 – 4. “This was certainly a moral victory for us, to be able to play the way we did in the second half. I’m very happy with our guys,” said Coach Knipp.
The game started out very similar to the first game of the season, Jesus Maneuver scored three quick goals off of quick counter attacks. “It seemed like the goals they scored in the first half were the stuff of Pele,” commented Carlo Furlan, “There was no way to stop them.” Hillcrest got on the board in the fifteenth minute with a crack shot from Furlan that clanged off the top bar and into the net. It was an impressive shot from the American international who was back with the team after his absence last week. Jesus Maneuver would score three more times in the first half making the score 6-1 at halftime.
Coach Knipp worked on shoring up the defense during halftime and his adjustments paid off in spades. Hillcrest would score minutes into the second half off a set piece goal by Grady Dillon. The Jesus Maneuver defenders were still getting organized when Dillon quickly stepped up and placed the ball just inside the upright. That play was an impressive piece of awareness on Dillon’s part, he had returned from international duty in Guatemala the morning before the game and was playing on very little rest. Travis Connell would score the next goal for Hillcrest, taking on a defender one on one at the top of the box and slotting a shot in the upper corner beating his man and the keeper. “I was sure he was going to pass it off to someone else,” said Matt Meyer, “He just kept the ball, blew past his man, and made a brilliant shot on goal.” Hillcrest would score twice more in the second half, both of the goals were products of strong defense and a quick counter attack.
The star of the game was the defense of Hillcrest FC. After a rough first half, they would hold Jesus Maneuver to a single goal in the second half. By the end of the game, the Jesus Maneuver players were visibly tired and very frustrated. Hillcrest was able to play much more physically in the second half, winning a number of balls in the air and stepping in to intercept what would normally be safe passes. With better communication, efficient marking, and aggressive challenges, the defense was able to jump start the offense on the fast break. As the second half progressed, the confidence level of the Hillcrest players sky rocketed and the momentum swung to their side. Defensive leader Matt Meyer could be heard across Puma Field, yelling out directions and markings for the defense. They weathered a number of attacks by Jesus Maneuver but held fast ensuring the game would be close at the end. “If we are able to play like this for an entire game, I think our quality matches anyone in the league,” said Coach Knipp after the game.
Hillcrest plays at home on Saturday night at 7:00 against the cellar dwellers, Centro de Adoracion Vida. It will be important for Hillcrest to keep improving with the playoffs only three weeks away. “I’m going into the next game expecting a touch match, I don’t want to underestimate these guys,” said Jake Mailhot. Nothing is given in the world of soccer, anything could happen in any given match. Hopefully, Hillcrest will show their quality and earn their second win of the season.