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TMC to stick with winning formula

Mustangs men’s soccer to play Indiana Tech on Monday in Fresno

Posted: November 25, 2009 9:35 p.m.
Updated: November 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The Master's College defender Tyler Salvey (7) heads the ball on goal as Jesus Hernandez (7) of Holy Names looks on during the opening round of the NAIA Tournament on Saturday at Reese Field. The Mustangs won 1-0 and advanced to play Indian Tech on Monday in Fresno.

The game plan is simple.

It has to be this late in the season with only a week to prepare.

The Master's College men's soccer head coach Jim Rickard said his team's plan for Indiana Tech, which it will play 2 p.m. on Monday in the first round of the NAIA Tournament in Fresno, is the same as its been all season.

Relentless pressure.

"The anchor is the defense," Rickard said. "You can have the greatest scoring team in the world, but there are going to be games where you are going to get shut down or you hit the post or the keepers going to make great saves. You need to be anchored by the defense. I think that's what takes you deep into playoffs."

And it's gotten the Mustangs there for the first time since 1992.

Rickard referred back to Saturday's win over Holy Names as the perfect example.

The Mustangs (17-2-2) beat Holy Names 1-0 on Saturday at Reese Field in the opening round of the tournament, which was held at host sites around the country. The winners advanced to the single-elimination bracket in Fresno.

The win was the team's 12th shutout of the season.

The Mustangs outshot the Hawks 21-9, but only managed one goal courtesy of Marcelo Silva in the eighth minute. When a defensive unit is playing as well as TMC's has though, sometimes one is enough.

The plan doesn't figure to change against Indiana Tech.

"You do what we've done, really the last five games," Rickard said. "You just play one game at a time. Don't worry about anything else. You just play one game at a time. You don't really deal with that (playoff) aspect of it until the game's over."

What little action gets past the TMC back line is scooped up by goalkeeper Kevin Lawson to the tune of a 0.55 goals against average.

TMC forward Joel Peluffo has given the team a scoring touch and is second in the Golden State Athletic Conference with 14 goals with three assists, while teammate Jacob Marchesani has been equally impressive with nine goals and 11 assists.

Marlon Lindo has provided a swift scoring touch off the bench with six goals and five assists.

However, the Warriors (12-6-3) are ready to neutralize the Mustangs.

"If you pressure as a team and cut off the passing lanes, they won't get the ball and won't be effective," said Indiana Tech head coach Martin Neuhoff, who also stressed the importance of playing to the strengths that helped his team advance to the NAIA Tournament for the first time since 1983.

The Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament champions beat the University of Maine-Fort Kent 1-0 on Saturday.

The Warriors do not rely on any one player, but instead diversify their attack.

"I think probably the best way to sum it all up is, when we played against Fort Kent up in Maine, just before we started the game, the question was posed: Who do we need to look out for (on the Warriors)?" Neuhoff recalled. "I said the 11 players on the field. We are a team. When we play, we work off each other."

One such player for the Warriors is forward Michael Lewis, who leads the team with eight goals and seven assists.

Lewis is followed by forward/midfielder Joel Putek with seven goals and four assists, and forward Nick Abdoo with five goals. Starting goalkeeper Josh Verhulst has 68 saves and a 1.24 goals against average.

Meanwhile, the Mustangs will be without midfielder Doug Armstrong, who was red-carded in Saturday's game against Holy Names.

Filling in will be the versatile Cody Jenison, who has played all over the field this season.

"For us it's going to be to play our game - high pressure, move the ball," Rickard said. "And two, to not chase the game. So, at least be 0-0 or up on them."


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