By Tyler Thompson (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Glendale Falcons (10-11) soccer program had a little added motivation heading into Wednesday’s Ozark Conference match at Parkview High School (6-18).
Defeat the Vikings and win the conference.
Well, check and check, as the Falcons soared to the 8-0 shutout win as January-like conditions continued to rip its way through southwest Missouri.
The Falcons had six goals at half — two of which coming off the foot of Jesus Martinez within the first 20 minutes of play.
But sophomore Alex Spence stole the show, capitalizing on the deflection for the score as time expired at halftime.
But the sophomore wasn’t done.
Within the first 3:45 of the second half, fate put the ball back with Spence, as his final two goals ended the match at in the 13th minute.
“It sounds pretty good. It feels pretty good to get the win,” Spence said of winning the conference. “Working well as a team was a big part of our game. Hopefully we do well in districts.”
With the temperature near freezing and wind ripping through JFK Stadium, the game plan was simple: get on top early and don’t relent.
“I think we have been doing that all year,” Glendale head coach Jeff Rogers said of the early, sustaining lead. “We create a lot of opportunities. So anytime you can get those early goals, it sets the tone for the rest of the night, so I was happy to see that. But, yeah, we are definitely into the fun part of the weather. “
This season — Rogers acknowledged — hasn’t followed tradition from a record standpoint, but the rough terrain has galvanized his group even further: much to the chagrin of the opposition.
“We are doing the same things we have done all year. If you look at our record, I mean, I’m not sure a lot of people are impressed with it, but there are very few games where we have been outplayed,” Rogers said. “Webster Groves was really the only team that kind of took it to us, but everybody else, we have played well.”
Webster Groves defeated the Falcons, 4-1, Aug. 31.
However, positives were drawn from the experience.
“Just keep our formation, keep our composure,” Spence said. “They really moved the ball well. “
The Falcons have gone down to the wire on five occasions this season, with penalty kicks and overtime forcing free soccer for those in attendance.
“With this group, I think it is a maturity issue — just closing out games and finishing. But they create as many looks as any team I have coached. And now, they are finding the back of the net, which, at this point in the year, you want to do. If we can do that against Nixa, then I will be excited about next week [districts].”
Nixa (13-7) hosts Glendale on Halloween night for the regular-season finale, and Rogers said remaining focused on the task at-hand and not thinking about districts will be crucial from a preparation standpoint.
“Nixa has a great group. They always do,” Rogers said. “Coach [Evan] Palmer does a great job with his kids, so we will be excited. The nice thing about our kids is a lot of them play together in the offseason, so you have friends on the other side. They will be ready to play.”
The Class 3 District 10 tournament commences Monday, Nov. 4, at Lebanon.
The Falcons are the top seed, followed by: Lebanon (15-8); West Plains (7-14); and Marshfield (8-10-2).
The Falcons play Marshfield at 5 p.m.
Other scoring against Parkview: Grant Compere (1); Jonathan DeAlba (1); Parkview own goal (1).