Bartlesville forward Jalen Belong made life miserable for the Muskogee Roughers on the soccer pitch Tuesday, scoring three goals and assisting on another as the Bruins sailed past Muskogee 5-0 in District 6A-4 action Tuesday night at Indian Bowl.
The junior forward scored on a 35-yard free kick at the 27-minute mark of the first half and then got a put-back goal off a save six minutes later to give Bartlesville all the offense it would need with a 2-0 halftime advantage.
With the stiff breeze at their back in the second half, the Roughers were able to mount more of an attack as they had 12 shots on goal. But Bruin goalie Cameron Moulder made two great saves that denied goals and was in the right place all night long to thwart the Roughers attempts.
And while the Roughers did press the attack more in the second half, it left the defense vulnerable to the long through ball which Bartlesville (6-3, 1-1) capitalized on three times with quickness from their forwards and midfielders.
The loss left the Roughers with a mark of 1-5 overall and 0-2 in district play and marked the fourth time in six games they’ve been shutout.
“The Bartlesville team was disciplined. They played hard and physical and we made too many mistakes that they capitalized on,” said Rougher head coach Tim Van Etten.
“I don’t know another way to put it. We have got to start taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes and we just didn’t do that tonight. I’d like to see us become more physical and hopefully we can grow from this and get better.”
After a defensive first half both teams ended up with 12 shots on goal in the second half but Moulder’s play in goal was a big difference-maker in the game.
“He didn’t warm up very well but he played well,” said Van Etten.
“He had nice kicks and throws and was very athletic and of course their big number three (Belong) just killed us. He also coaches some and knows his business and he showed it tonight.”
Bartlesville 4,Muskogee 2
The Lady Bruins scored in the first 90 seconds and it took a good part of the match for Muskogee (3-5, 0-2) to find its footing in the loss.
Team co-captain Camden Cotner scored two of the Lady Bruins four goals on the night and the other co-captain, Lauren Sheosmith, also got a goal.
Coming out of halftime with a 2-0 lead, the Lady Bruins (6-4, 1-1) got two more goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half to take a commanding lead.
Muskogee came alive in the final six minutes of the match with Layla Johnson getting Muskogee’s first goal on a run down the left wing and a shot from 15 yards out past the keeper.
The second goal was a point-blank shot by Rhyan Grey with under a minute to play.Despite the loss, Lady Rougher coach Oscar Flores saw positives for Muskogee.
“I thought we played up to our ability for the most part. We gave up a couple of goals on mistakes but we got a couple of late goals which was big for us because we haven’t scored in district play in a couple of years,” Flores said.
“I think we found that we can play with better teams but we have to come out and play with the fire from the beginning that we showed at the end of the game tonight. I’m happy that we played a strong eighty minutes but I’m not satisfied.”
District play continues Friday for the Roughers as they travel to Enid.