Montgomery throttles Newman, 4-0

Montgomery's Cody Diklich, center, goes up for the ball between Cardinal Newman's James Nead, left, and James Burton, right, during the game held at Cardinal Newman High School, Sept. 28, 2010. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / THE PD)

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Not playing a top game and still winning easily, Montgomery’s boys looked plenty formidable in a victory Tuesday at Cardinal Newman.

Why the Vikings lead the North Bay League was evident in Montgomery’s firepower on offense and smothering defense for the 4-0 win.

Diego Lopez scored twice and often drew multiple defenders, opening the field for other playmakers, including Keenan Whyte, who had a goal, and Cody Diklich, who served a long ball for Tanner Pierce to head in for a score.

“We’re playing good. We just have to communicate more,” said Lopez, noting the Vikings’ room for improvement. “We’ve got to get rid of the ball quicker and make runs. But it’s not bad.”

Cardinal Newman coach Paul Dixon didn’t see many holes in the Montgomery effort. The Cardinals rarely cracked Montgomery’s defense, as midfielders and backs led by Trevor Smandra consistently cut off passing combinations and cleared serves deep into the Vikings’ half of the field.

“They’re well organized. They play for each other,” Dixon said. “We didn’t play well today. When they scored, we let our heads down.”

Controlling the game at the outset, Montgomery kept pressuring until Diklich fed Pierce with a crossing serve for a solid header inside the far post.

While the Cardinals played with more energy, their passing and defensive play wasn’t crisp. Montgomery won more of the open balls and was better at keeping possession.

“I have enough guys who hold the ball well that they move up and down the field as a team,” said Montgomery coach Mike Murray. “When we get combinations going, we move the ball well. You could see glimpses of it.”

Cardinal Newman raised its level of play to open the second half and managed to put together a few scoring chances with Simon Bell and Kyle McKeever narrowly missing shots.

On defense, the Cardinals cleared more balls out of danger, with Kevin McGowan the anchor on the back line.
But the Vikings regrouped and again found openings to work in. On the second goal, Lopez took a ball on a deflection off a defender, created space and struck a shot from 25 yards out that banged in off the left post.
Later, a foul in the goal box resulted in a penalty kick, with Whyte booting it in for a 3-0 lead.
Showing plenty of heart despite the deficit, Cardinal Newman still couldn’t manage a goal.

“We’re strong and fast in the back,” Murray said.

Then the Vikings countered a Cardinals run with Lopez getting on a loose ball, splitting two defenders and getting off two shots, guiding the second one in for the game’s final score.

With the win, Montgomery raised its record to 10-1-2 overall and 4-0-1 in league play. Cardinal Newman is 6-4-3 and 2-3.