SILVIS — A first half described by United Township boys' soccer coach Phil Weaver as being filled with "careless play" meant the starters were relegated to the bench for the last 25 minutes of it.|
"We weren't threatening," Weaver said. "We weren't building on anything."
The last 40 minutes altered his perspective, with the Panthers establishing a rhythm and finding their groove. UT dominated the second half with a five-goal outburst, carrying it to a 6-1 nonconference victory over Geneseo at the Panther Pitch on Thursday night.
"The second half was as different as night is to day," Weaver said. "We really had a lot of pressure. We probably could have scored 10 or 11 goals. A lot more energy, a lot more focus. Better care of the ball, which comes from communication. That was the difference."
Controlling the ball helped UT turn a 1-0 halftime advantage into a comfortable victory. The five second-half goals scored by the Panthers (2-2) equaled their output in their previous three matches combined. Things clearly were different from their dismal first-half performance.
"We were very stagnant," said senior midfielder Carter Pease, who gave UT a 1-0 halftime lead on a goal in the 21st minute. "We weren't moving the ball well."
Eight minutes into the second half, UT had corrected its problems and found a solid pace. Pease and Dylan Cardenas both scored in that stretch, extending the lead to 3-0. By the 61st minute, the Panthers built a 5-0 advantage on goals by Giovanny Segovia and Cardenas. Those two were scored 90 seconds apart. Zach Davila capped the scoring with a goal in the 74th minute.
In two losses this season against Moline and UT, the Maple Leafs (1-2) have been outscored 12-1.
"That's part of a young team," said Geneseo coach Ian Kline, whose team received an Erik Sammons penalty kick in the 65th minute. "They're going to take time. ... Experience is huge in high school. Experience is huge in college. Experience is huge in the pros."
Returning eight starters, the Panthers showed some moxie and veteran play after displaying shaky play. Rather than fold, they stood strong and constructed a solid finish.
"A lot better second half," Pease said. "We just figured out what we needed to do. We just got it done."
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