WOODSTOCK – Any number of adjectives could have described Woodstock North when it trailed Richmond-Burton by two goals at halftime.
Aggravated, frustrated, agitated all would have worked.
Fortunately for the Thunder, motivated might have fit best.
North assistant coach Rudy Carreon delivered an inspirational halftime speech and the Thunder responded appropriately.
North scored early, kept applying pressure and eventually wiped out the Rockets’ lead and won the Kishwaukee River Conference boys soccer game going away, 5-2, Wednesday.
“Coach Rudy motivted us during the halftime speech,” said Thunder midfielder Eloy Bernal, who scored the fourth goal. “He woke us up and got us ready to play in the second half. Once we got one (goal) back in, I knew the strength of our team. We knew it was our game after that.”
North (3-4, 3-0 KRC) got a goal from Jesus Diaz in the first four minutes of the second half, then Diaz tied the score with 22:45 remaining on a penalty kick. North had nine shots on goal in the second half as it dominated offensive play.
“When we wake up, we’re dangerous,” Thunder coach John Sullivan said. “Their keeper (Logan Knott) is outstanding. He did a great job back there. Our boys came into that second half ready to go. We changed our mentality, we played more of an attacking style and it worked out for us.”
R-B (3-3-2, 0-2) got goals from James Layer and Sean Rockwell in a one-minute span in the first half. The Thunder had good scoring chances in the last 27:00 of the half, twice hitting a post and once denied by Knott’s diving save, and could get nothing into the net.
Once North got started, it could not be stopped. Erik Hermansson sent a corner kick to the far post and David Marin headed it in for the lead with 16:30 remaining in the second half.
“(Hermansson) was just sending it far post, and I saw that there was no one back there,” Marin said. “I faked a run to the side and went to the back post. Once he kicked the ball, I knew right away it was going there, and I made a run and got a free header.
“It was amazing. We knew once we got the lead it was secure, with the confidence we have in ourselves.”
Diaz normally plays center midfielder and was pushed up in the second half.
“The first half we were playing slow, the second half our coaches gave us a speech,” Diaz said. “That speech helped us all. We changed our formations and moved me up. I had a lot of pressure because I usually play CM. I just gave it all. This year means a lot to me.”
Sam Foster came up with a loose ball in front of R-B’s goal and scored with just less than 10 minutes remaining. Bernal finished the scoring with a goal in the final three minutes.
R-B coach Casey DeCaluwe knew there was too much time left even after the Rockets’ two quick goals.
“Trying to hold a lead for 65 minutes can be tough,” DeCaluwe said. “We knew they were going to come at us. We’re a young group and we’re learning valuable lessons right now on how not to close out games. You can go up, 2-0, and teams are going to fight.
“Woodstock North is a quality side and they moved the ball well. We got up two goals, and I saw it in our team, we couldn’t believe we were up and we had to defend. We need to be a better side defending. It seemed like we ball-watched a lot and didn’t take care of marks.”
Woodstock North 5, Richmond-Burton 2
Richmond-Burton 2 0 – 2
Woodstock North 0 5 – 5
RB–James Layer (Ethan Demers), 28:00.
RB–Sean Rockwell (Tristan Rockwell), 27:00.
WN–Jesus Diaz (Jason Burg), 36:35.
WN–David Marin (Erik Hermansson), 16:30.
WN–Sam Foster, 9:52.
WN–Eloy Bernal, 2:37.
Goalkeeper saves: Logan Knott (R-B) 13; Enrique Castaneda (WN) 1.