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Maconaquah holds off scrappy Winamac 3-1

IMPROV: Maconaquah forward Jackson Jones (Second L) turns a failed bicycle kick from Bryan Teegardin into his second goal Saturday night against Winamac in a boys' non-conference soccer match. Jones opened the scoring for the Braves in the first half to help the hosts to a 2-1 lead before adding in the only goal of the second half in a 3-1 win over the Warriors.

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

The end of the sports week was later than usual as Maconaquah hosted Winamac in a Saturday night boys’ soccer showdown.

A pair of goals in the first half was good enough to see the Braves take a 2-1 lead into halftime while the hosts added a third in the second half to cement a 3-1 win over the Warriors.

“I was happy with the team,” Maconaquah head coach Bob Jones said. “We’ve been struggling to put the ball in the goal so we’ve been tweaking our formation, adjusting our attack and had a lot more opportunities tonight.”

A fast-paced game got off to a better start than in recent outings for the home team when Jackson Jones swept home the opening goal of the match for a 1-0 lead.

Winamac would level a scrappy match at 1-1 before Bryan Teegardin gave Maconaquah its halftime advantage with a goal to restore the lead at 2-1.

Playing a more attacking 3-4-3 formation, Jones said the goal was to create better chances in the goalmouth area.

“We wanted to get more opportunities in front of the goal in the box,” Jones said about the formation change. “In other games, we’ve been pushing the ball towards the corners and either losing the ball or making a half-hearted attempt at a cross, so we adjusted our attack and it was affective.”

Getting to halftime with the lead intact was also important, Jones added, having only earned a draw and no wins after trailing at the break in four other matches.

“It’s important for us every time as historically we’ve had slow starts and it’s hard to come back from that,” Jones said about having a halftime lead. “It’s important to come out fast in every game and to make sure it doesn’t take us 15 minutes to get started.”

Jackson Jones would double his tally in the second half off an errant Teegardin bicycle kick to secure the win, riding out an even scrappier second half as the two teams began to tire from the frenetic pace of play.

Getting through the match against a Warrior team that was willing to scrap towards the end was down to the energy brought on by several players according to Jones.

“We got a spark from a couple of guys from their effort,” Jones said. “Effort is contagious and we were challenging for balls that we might not have or haven’t been before, which makes a difference.

“We’ve got several guys that put out that energy like Jacob Malone, who was full-go when he was out there, challenging for every ball, while Caleb Winegardner does that all the time and is a ball magnet.”

Maconaquah moves to 5-3-1 on the season and will take aim at 2A No. 18 Western Tuesday night, the second game of a Miami County v Howard County doubleheader as the girls’ soccer team faces Northwestern at 6 p.m.

Jones said the squad did not fare well against another sectional team in Oak Hill earlier this season and had to bring a much better effort into the match against the Panthers.

“There are three really good teams in the sectional,” Jones said, referencing Tuesday night’s match with Western. “We played Oak Hill earlier and we were not up to the challenge in that match.

“They were playing a different type of soccer than we were and if we’re not careful, it will be the same with Western, so we have to bring our A-game, execute and be crisp if we want to compete.”