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Clarke boys soccer season closes

Indians get revenge win to open up postseason; fall in substate semifinals

Brian Avalos
Brian Avalos

Clarke 3, Chariton 2

CHARITON – It was the Clarke boys soccer team’s third matchup against Chariton on the year and the most important matchup of the season to open up Class 1A Substate 6 play.

After falling to the Chargers twice in the regular season, the Indians took advantage of the third matchup in snagging a 3-2 win and keeping their season alive into the substate semifinals.

Clarke broke through twice in the second half on goals from Jordy Mendez and Brian Avalos in the early portion out of the the halftime intermission.

Avalos came through and buried a free kick in the back of the net after Mendez scored his second goal of the game to open up second half play.

“They (Clarke) had a lot of opportunities in the first half, but just wasn’t lucky enough,” said Clarke head coach Jorge Avalos. “It was just a matter of time for them to score.”

Avalos noted the biggest change for the Indians came on two fronts.

Defensively, Clarke shifted to cover the middle and tried to take away the Charger long pass up to strikers, looking to break away from defenders.

Playing the other way, the Indians tried to push the ball wide on attack and send crosses over the middle to avoid a tough interior Chariton defense.

“It was a very competitive game,” said Jorge Avalos. “Their defense was pretty solid in the middle of the field so we played outside more to open them up a little bit.”

Iowa Mennonite 1, Clarke 0

SOLON – After a long road trip, the Indians opened up their substate semifinals against Class 1A No. 16 Iowa Mennonite with a spot in the substate finals on the line.

A noted issue throughout the season, Clarke couldn’t break through the opposing defense, falling 1-0 and bringing their 2019 campaign to a close.

IMS broke through late in the first half when a corner kick off the foot of Cody Jones found the head of Brian Maren for the lone score of the game.

It was an IMS attack that Jorge Avalos admitted the Indians should have seen coming given the number of opposing attackers on the far post.

“It was a long corner kick to the far post,” said Jorge Avalos. “We didn’t recognize what they were doing so we should have recognized that they were all there.”

After the goal, the Indians threw attackers at the opposing net, but couldn’t get the ball over the back line as IMS closed out the contest with a 1-0 win.

Overall, Clarke had a lot of positive takeaways from the season, including the benefit of working with a lot of new players out for the team.

“That was one of the nicer things is that we were able to have new people and new players,” said Jorge Avalos. “I think overall it was a good season. We learned a lot and got more people involved and ready for next year.”

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