Tyler Elliot, Cougars start fast to beat Vikings 6-1
JANESVILLE--Tyler Elliot has encouraged his Janesville Craig soccer teammates to get off to strong starts.
The Cougars senior backed up the talk Tuesday night.
Elliot scored a pair of goals in the opening eight minutes, and Craig needed just 20 seconds to score in the second half on the way to a 6-1 Big Eight Conference victory at crosstown rival Janesville Parker.
“We’ve had trouble in the past getting fast starts,” Elliot said. “I’m trying to get the guys more focused before the game, and I think we’re starting to get to a point where we start fast and set a tone.”
Elliot was in the right place at the right time twice in the opening minute.
In the fifth minute, the Vikings had trouble controlling a crossing pass into the box, and Elliot headed the ball home. A little more than three minutes later, he camped out on the near post on a corner kick and blasted home a rebound.
“If we don’t, you start to fall into a slow tempo and slow pace, and things get out of hand,” Craig coach Garrett McCabe said. “We like to be dangerous. We want to attack and get after it.”
Craig senior captain Ian Reinicke made it 3-0 in the ninth minute.
Parker got on the scoreboard midway through the first half. Junior midfielder Eziquiel Mendoza scored when the Cougars lost control of a ball in their box.
But any chance Parker had to seize momentum and mount a second-half comeback evaporated in the opening seconds after halftime. Craig senior Hozai Ceballos carried the ball forward and placed a beautiful strike from 25 yards out into the lower right corner of the net.
“The first 10 or 15 minutes, we’ve got to hold them,” Parker coach Abilio Monteiro said. “They scored three goals on us really quick, and that was it.”
The Cougars dictated play throughout the second half and added to the lead with goals from juniors Jack Swingle and Adolfo Pineda.
“(The message has been) just focus, set the tone, and play stronger,” said Elliot, who added an assist on Swingle’s goal. “We had trouble last game being strong on the ball, so just striking fast and being relentless.”
Monteiro said the key for Parker early on in the Big Eight schedule is simply to take steps forward.
“There’s been improvement, so I’m happy with that,” Monteiro said. “It’s about slowly building this program up again and getting the guys to where they have a winning mentality.”
Parker hosts Beloit on Tuesday; Craig travels to Verona.