NCS soccer playoffs: Roseland Prep boys start with a bang

By ALLIE COLOSKY

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Roseland Prep University Soccer team dominated possession of the ball as they shut out Bentley 3-0 Wednesday night at Elsie Allen High School.

Roseland University Prep’s Alan Olvera, left, goes up for the ball against Bentley’s Torin Rittenberg during Wednesday night’s NCS Division 2 soccer playoff at Elsie Allen High. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Roseland University Prep’s Alan Olvera, left, goes up for the ball against Bentley’s Torin Rittenberg during Wednesday night’s NCS Division 2 soccer playoff at Elsie Allen High. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

With the win in the first round of the Division 2 playoffs, the No. 4 Knights improved their overall record to 18-3-3, and 8-1-2 in the North Central Division II.

“We were very physical in the back,” said senior Alex Morales. “We had a lot of really good combinations and we put a couple goals in and shut it down.”

The communication has been a constant improvement, and it was key in the successful passing sequences, he added.

The Knights used skilled footwork and a calm passing game to control possession in the first half, out-shooting Bentley 28-5.

“We were just sharing the ball,” Roseland Prep head coach Augustin Fonzeca said. “We were looking for the open man and we played simple. It allowed us to hold possession.”

Fonzeca said it was the players’ ability to keep the ball flowing from the back line and up the field that allowed them to maintain possession during the game and control the clock.

“Our back line played well,” he said. “They set the tempo and allowed us to control the tempo moving up the field.”

Roseland continued to pressure the Bentley box and finally found the back of the net with just less than nine minutes remaining in the first half.

Jose Ramirez gained control of a free ball in front of Bentley keeper Segun Sodipo before blasting a shot in the back left corner.

Adolfo Morales was dangerous for Roseland’s offense, helping create multiple opportunities before capitalizing on one for his own goal. He caught a long pass from Enrique Sanchez and popped the header over the hands of Sodipo in the second half for the Knights’ second goal.

“It was a quick play,” Sanchez said. “I saw that it was a two-on-one and I sent it to the far back post. He was there to put it in.”

It was a great ball to the far side and Morales said he was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Sanchez put the final touches on the Knights’ win with a penalty kick in the final seven minutes of the game.

There were a couple of opportunities the team should have taken advantage of, Fonzeca said, but there is always room for improvement.

“We had more opportunities but we just need to bury them,” he said. “It’s something to work on.”

The No. 13 seed Bentley Phoenix dropped to 6-7-4 overall with the loss. Roseland Prep now moves on to the second round, playing Branson on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Elsie Allen.

“We just need to stay humble on the field,” Alex Morales said. “We just need to keep focused and dedicated to the game.”