Truman running a tighter ship under Kinloch

NORTHAMPTON – It’s tough to get a soccer team going with only 14 players. Add in 90-plus degree heat and humidity and it’s almost impossible.

Just ask first-year Harry S Truman head coach Jack Kinloch. On Sept. 9, he and his Tiger team travelled to Council Rock South for the team’s Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference opener.

Outshot 25-7, the only reason why the score remained respectable was the man between the pipes – Truman senior goalkeeper Fernando Mendez, a second team all-league selection in 2014. Mendez stopped all but two shots by Golden Hawks midfielder Mike Dawicki in a 2-1 triumph that favored CR South. He allowed only one shot to get through in the team’s opener Aug. 4 at Kennett.

“Friday night against Kennett, he was the best player on the field,” said Kinloch of his goalkeeper. “He’s hands down one of the best players in the league. There’s no doubt in my mind and there’s a lot of great players in this league.

“He’s terrific and he’s a terrific kid, as well.”

Off a feed from senior Angel Rodriguez, the Tigers’ only goal came in the second half on a strike by sophomore Badr Fask about a minute after Dawicki’s second goal in the contest. Fask might have had a goal in the first half too, had he not been taken down by a Golden Hawks defender.

The infraction by CR South (1-2, 1-0 SOL), committed inside the box, should have drawn a penalty kick.

It didn’t.

“The 2-1 score line probably flattered us,” stated Kinloch. “That being said, that’s a stone cold penalty in the first half. That’s got to give us a penalty kick and maybe that changes the game up.

“But they hit the crossbar twice and Fernando stood on his head, especially the last ten minutes.”

South sophomore Pat Wilczynski was the player who hit the crossbar twice for the Hawks. He also set up Dawicki’s first goal that came less than two minutes before the intermission.

South senior middy Dylan Schwartz also gave the Truman defense fits throughout the contest.

“They’re strong right in the center of the park where you wanna be strong,” stated Kinloch. “Our hope was to try and push them wide and we weren’t really successful with that, especially early in the game.”

Truman – which remains winless at 0-2 – scored its goal about a minute after Dawicki registered his second, then didn’t come close to the CR South net for the remainder of the game.

“Three weeks in, I don’t know where or who we’re going to get goals from,” commented Kinloch.

“That’s going to be an issue.

The third coach the Tigers (0-2, 0-1 SOL National) have had in the past four seasons, Kinloch has cracked down on the boys soccer program on Green Lane. He had only 14 players in uniform vs. South. Even standout Eddie Worthington, a second-team all-league selection in 2014, didn’t get to play.

“We’re going with the guys who are going to buy in and defend the way that we need to defend until we get things sorted out up top.

“We’re not as deep as others teams in the league and that’s part of how we’re changing how things are done at Truman.

“We’re definitely more disciplined. We’re more organized and a lot of things that have gone on the last few years around this program, we’re just not tolerating it.

“The kids are buying into it.

“The ones who are here, the ones who wanna play for one another, they bust their rear ends.”

Seven of the players listed on the roster, including Fask, are sophomores. But there’s a learning curve that comes with a youth movement, says Kinloch.

“The one mistake that our sophomores consistently are making is that they are taking that extra touch and they think they have time and they get closed down immediately.”

With his team’s first SOL National Conference game in the books, Kinloch is just looking forward.

“Just about every team in the league is going to be more skilled than us so we have to find a way to frustrate (opponents). We have to find a way with what we have to be successful.

“It’s a tough 14-game schedule and we’re going to have to grind out results like that in every game until we get a little more comfortable in the attack.

But of course, it’s tough to transition into offense when you have only 14 players and it’s 95 degrees on the pitch. Hopefully, cooler temps prevail throughout the remainder of the Tigers’ season.

Council Rock South 2, Truman 1

(Sept. 9 at CR South)

CR SOUTH 1 1 – 2

TRUMAN 0 1 – 1

GOALS: CRS – Mike Dawicki 2 (38th, 62nd minute); T – Badr Fask (63rd minute)

ASSISTS: CRS – Pat Wilczynski; T – Angel Rodriguez

SHOTS: CR South 25, Truman 7

SAVES: Fernando Mendez (HST) 12; Nate Zajdowicz (CRS) 1.

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