For the East Central College soccer Falcons, it was worth the delay and the move.
East Central (4-1) shut out Lincoln Land Sunday at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School, 6-0.
“We’ve played them every year and there are times where they are very scrappy,” East Central Head Coach Benji Grimes said. “They’ll give you trouble if you let them. It was nice to see our boys get the two-goal lead at halftime and them focus on getting the third to not let it be an issue of letting them get back into the game.”
East Central opens MCCAC and NJCAA Division I Region 16 play Wednesday at home, hosting rival Jefferson College at 4 p.m.
“This is our first major test in our region,” Grimes said. “We want to come out and get a good result with them. It’s a big moment to see where we are with our program and our players. We’ll see if we’re up to the challenge.”
The Falcons hit the road next Monday, visiting Southwestern Illinois College.
The game originally was scheduled for noon Saturday at East Central, but heavy rain Friday made the field there unplayable. Instead the school arranged with Borgia to shift the game there Sunday to play on turf and miss all of the expected rain.
“We were very appreciative of Borgia allowing us to play our game here,” Grimes said.
The Falcons dominated early play, but didn’t convert that to a lead until freshman Leonard Sowa (Rudolf-Virchow-Oberschule, Berlin, Germany) converted on a chance with 22:26 left in the opening half. Rudy Gonzalez (Carthage) made the play to set up the goal.
Sowa scored again just under three minutes later with Arman Kovac (Lindbergh) springing him for a breakaway this time. The Falcons led 2-0 at the half.
Lewis Brass (Cardinal Hume, Tyne & Wear, England) made one save in the opening 45 minutes for the Falcons.
Gregorio Gros Jacques (Eugenia Bona, Biella, Italy) played the second half and made two saves, including a leaping stop, in the second half to help secure the shutout.
“I can’t say enough about the defensive line now that we’ve got our back four set,” Grimes said. “I don’t think we’ve given up a goal since we’ve had this lineup. Both keepers got in today. Gregorio had a fantastic save in the second half and Lewis did a good job of controlling the game. We’re blessed with the quality of goalkeeping we have. We’ve got two of the best goalkeepers in JUCO.”
The Falcons continued the offensive onslaught in the second half. Kovac found the net just 2:40 into the second half. Gabriel Pires (Centro Educacional Charles Darwin, Vitorio, Brazil) assisted on the goal.
Just under six minutes later, Juan Bolivar (South Broward, Hollywood, Fla.) added to the lead with Gonzalez earning his second assist.
With 22:31 to play, Billy Thompson (The City School, Sheffield, England) scored with Joel Konteh (Robert Smyth Academy, Market Harborough, England) assisting.
With 2:27 left on the clock, defender Gary Dunne (St. Peters, Dunboyne, Ireland) scored with Tanner Harris (Pattonville) earning an assist.
“We did an excellent job of finishing today,” Grimes said. We had 12 or 13 good chances and ended up finishing on six of them. I’ll take that any day. We scored in a lot of different ways with a lot of different players contributing. The attack’s looking good right now.”
Grimes indicated East Central took advantage of the wide areas Lincoln Land left open after the Falcons attacked up the middle in the opening half.