MOMENCE — Two goals officially can be checked off Momence’s list for this season.
The first goal was obtained Monday, when it won the TVC championship. Now, it can cross the Raider Invite championship off that list.
For the second time this season, the Redskins took Iroquois West’s best shot and came out with a victory, this time in a 1-0 outing Wednesday.
“We came into the tournament focused on winning and doing the right things,” Momence coach Alex Habeeb said. “We didn’t have a good showing last year, so we wanted to correct that. Winning this tournament only builds our confidence while showing us more strengths but also showed what else to work on before our tournament game.”
How it happened
Being familiar with one another after playing an overtime game earlier this season, both teams knew what to expect.
During the first half, both teams were completely even on every soccer measurable.
From ball possession to shots on goal and everything in between, it was a stalemate that resulted in a scoreless game at halftime.
“I’ve talked with Alex a number of times, and we both agree that our teams are mirror images,” Iroquois West coach Rich Alvarez said. “We knew that whoever got the first goal was probably going to win.”
Alvarez was proven to be correct, as Momence’s Jared Espino took a touch and fired his shot into the back of the net for the only goal of the game with 20:59 left.
“The pass to him was right on point,” Habeeb said. “It was in the right direction and had the right amount of pace. Jared made a nice turn and finished with his left for a sweet goal.
“We work on shooting with both feet everyday in practice, and he showed me that all this work is paying off at the right time.”
Both teams look ahead to Class 1A tournament play.
Momence takes on Bishop McNamara at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Grant Park High School.
The Redskins already have faced the Irish and scored a 3-1 victory Sept. 15. They’re riding a 14-game winning streak and are undoubtedly the hottest team in the area.
There’s one more thing on that checklist for Momence, according to Habeeb: A regional championship. Anything after that is just icing on the cake.
“We all believe in each other, and these kids are my second set of kids,” Habeeb said. “We’ve created a family atmosphere over the last two years. This was just an appetizer, though. Now, we’re ready for the full-course meal.”
As for Iroquois West, Wednesday was only its fifth loss of the season, although Alvarez admitted this loss hurt.
But the Raiders have a week of practice to prepare for their matchup at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Coal City at Herscher High School.
“Our defense did a pretty nice job,” Alvarez said. “We’ll do a few things to tweak our defense to make it stronger. Offensively, we need to get the ball out more from the center and take advantage of crosses along with corner kicks. We had our opportunities tonight but didn’t get them.
“We’ll correct everything before Wednesday gets here.”