By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
Soccer players are a unique breed of athlete. Some will play in 125-degree heat and some will play in blizzard conditions.
Call it crazy. Call it whatever. They play in the conditions that Mother Nature dictate.
The Belton boys’ soccer team, playing just 30 minutes following the cancellation of the Big Red Relay, got a hat trick and two assists from Blake Odell and two goals and a helper from Ryan Diaz in a 5-1 win over the Killeen Kangaroos at cold, wet, icy Wilson Kerzee Field.
With the victory, Belton moved their overall record to 9-3-4 and District 12-6A record to 7-0-2 for 23 points overall in the district table. Most importantly, the win clinched another playoff spot for the Tigers.
Kade LeBlanc set up Odell’s initial blast on Roos’ goalkeeper David Goffelt, that was knocked away to an open Diaz. He knocked the rebound into the twine from point-blank range, opened the scoring just six minutes into the match.
Brandon Coulter’s 50-yard free kick set Odell’s first tally of the game, as he deftly put the ball into the net to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead during the game’s 28th minute.
Diaz and Odell teamed up for the Tigers’ third goal that occurred in the 33rd minute. Diaz was doubled up with two Roo defenders, worked a pass to a wide-open Odell and Odell deposited the ball in the net. It was a pretty play by the duo and a fruitful one for the Tigers on the scoreboard.
Four minutes later, Belton goalkeeper Chris Noble was injured during a scramble for a loose ball in the goal box. Needing assistance to the bench, Noble was replaced by Morgan Christman.
Diaz scored his second goal three minutes into the second half off of a rebound, being in the right spot following an Odell free kick from 30-yards away.
Tyler Fisher set up Odell’s third goal of the game, with spot-on, cross-field pass that Odell headed into the net to make the score 5-0.
The Tigers’ lost the shutout with 28 minutes to go in the game, as Freddy Nguma headed in a pass from Rogelio Carrizales.
Belton outshot Killeen 22-9 and missed some chances that could have increased the margin of victory. The Tigers had a multitude of free kicks during the game.
Fisher, Austin Hagen and Thomas Shelburne played very well defensively.
“We needed to be better about turning the ball over,” Killeen head coach Aaron Bragewitz said. “You can’t turn it over like that to a team as good as Belton. It led to too many free kicks.”
“We should have converted more scoring opportunities,” Belton head coach Tarcisio Mosnia said. “Blake and Ryan good jobs. You see their size and they’re still able to compete with the big boys. It’s a credit to them.”
Belton had the night off on Tuesday and return to the pitch on Friday at Killeen Ellison.