Holy Trinity’s offense comes alive in second half as Tigers blank MCC

Holy Trinity senior Walker Johnson (in blue) scored his first goal of the season as the Tigers defeated Melbourne Central Catholic 3-0 on Senior Night.

The Holy Trinity boys soccer team had a number of chances to score in the first half of Monday night’s game against Melbourne Central Catholic, but couldn’t manage to find the back of the net.

Well, that all changed in the second half.

Grayson Guedes, Walker Johnson and Brock Shoultz all scored in the second half as the Tigers came away with a 3-0 victory on Senior Night at Holy Trinity.

It was the Tigers’ second win over MCC this season, having beat the Hustlers 1-0 in the season opener.

“I think in the first half they were more wound up because it was Senior Night and the seniors wanted to get their goals and they thought, ‘We already beat them once,’” Holy Trinity coach Adrian Moreno said.

“They thought it was going to come easy, and I told them that it wasn’t going to be. MCC was going to know how to play and come out ready to go and know how to beat you. They didn’t really want to listen to it.

“Once we got them sat down, got them relaxed and instructed them on, ‘Hey, this is how we play out of the back. This is how we do everything else …’ it was a lot smoother, a lot more fluid. They enjoyed it more than they did in the first half. They weren’t as panicked.”

Of course, some of the credit should also go to MCC keeper Asher Wieder, who made a number of nice saves throughout the night.

But ultimately, the Tigers found a way to break through.

The first goal came in the opening minutes of the second half as Holy Trinity senior tri-captain Ty Schrumpf had a long throw-in that went over the heads of several players in front of the goal and to the back post, where Guedes was able to slot it into the net.

Johnson’s goal came with just over 22 minutes remaining and the senior looked more relieved than excited.

“I would say I probably was,” Johnson said with a smile. “I’ve been trying to score for the past two games and I’ve been a little bit unlucky, in my opinion.

“I feel like I had a couple of better opportunities that I could have scored on, as opposed to that one.”

Shoultz’s goal was a long-distance laser that went off the keeper’s hands following a short corner by senior teammate Dante Valdivia.

Holy Trinity senior keeper James Linnabary got his second straight shutout in the win.

“I think we played pretty well,” Johnson said. “We started out a little rough, but we picked it up in the second half. We got back to our game plan of a more passing-oriented style of play. I feel like that helped us score more in the second half.”

The early part of the season will be crucial for the Tigers as they adjust to a new style of play that emphasizes possession and building the attack out of the back.

“I think we’re definitely adjusting to it as the season has gone on,” Johnson said. “I feel like a lot of times we kind of panic a little bit at the start of the game, but as the game goes on, we sort of move into what we’ve been practicing and we start to fall into form.”

Tuesday night’s game not only offered Holy Trinity a chance to improve to 2-0 on the season, but also to honor its seniors: Johnson; Schrumpf; Valdivia; Linnabary; Guedes; Luke Micallef; Hunter Hammond; Ahn Phan; John Deluca; Francisco Martinez; Luc Chaffiot and Alec Rikita.

After seeing his team play for the second time this season, Moreno said he noticed improvements in several areas which the team can build on as its schedule picks up.

“I think our shooting was a lot better this game,” the Tigers coach said. “I think they’re understanding more now how to move the ball around the field. They’re more comfortable with it.”