A new coach, but it’s the same old excellence for Morton’s boys soccer team.
The 2016 sectional champion Mustangs (5-0-1) sealed the Red Devil Cup championship with a 5-1 win over host Hinsdale Central in the finals Sept. 2.
“It’s a good, tough beginning of the schedule to see what we have to improve on,” said Morton first-year head coach Jim Bageanis. “We’re still tweaking a little stuff.”
A key momentum-creating game in Morton’s four-win tournament sweep was a 4-1 victory Aug. 31 over Geneva. Junior Isaac Carnalla led the way that day with two goals and an assist, and has been an offensive force all season.
“They (Geneva) were giving me some space, so I was taking advantage,” said Carnalla, who had four goals and three assists through four matches. “And my teammates did a good job of feeding me the ball.
“He (Bageanis) has brought a more attacking feel to the team,” Carnalla dded. “Last year we were more defensive, but this year we’re a more exciting offensive team. I think it’s working out for us well. We’re still undefeated and hope to stay that way all season.”
Carnalla assisted on a Jesus Perez goal to put Morton up 1-0 in the 32nd minute, then scored off a Droyvin Lara pass for a 2-0 halftime lead over Geneva.
Then after Geneva drew within 2-1, header goals by German Tinoco (off a nice Perez cross with 20:22 left) and Carnalla (off a Yobany Esparza cross at 15:08) sealed the win.
“They weren’t just our stars scoring,” Bageanis said. “Everyone contributed, and we had a couple hustle goals because guys got on the end of balls on across.”
Besides Carnalla, the early season standouts have been many.
“Adrian Barrera’s been playing well,” Bageanis said. “He’s a handful with the ball, and he’s got good speed. We move him around depending on what we need in the game.
“Martin Lamas holds the middle and keeps us balanced. And I like German Tinoco – he’s a hustler out there who’s getting better every game.”
Even with his young team’s strong start, Bageanis sees room for improvement.
“The one thing we’re trying to push with our guys, you can’t let up at the varsity level,” Bageanis said. “We were laying back up 2-0 (against Geneva), then we give up a silly early goal on a ball we should cleared.
“Teams can score on you like that. We have some younger guys who have played a lot of soccer, but they still have to learn the high school game.”