Sure, Allen Community College has had a successful start to its soccer season, winning two of its first three matches.
But their wins have been anything but easy.
“We’ve been dominating play, but it’s still stressful because we’re not putting the ball away,” Allen head coach Doug Desmarteau said.
The Red Devils got off to a blistering start against visiting Pratt, highlighted by David Almeida’s spectacular goal less than 10 minutes into the match, in which he poked the ball past the Pratt goalkeeper via the famed bicycle kick method, in which he twisted his body, then blasted the ball with an overhead kick.
Then, in a second attack minutes later, Allen’s Jordan Mase chipped the ball past the goalkeeper with a header to make it 2-0.
The Red Devils cruised from there, fending off each Pratt challenge in the shutout victory, to improve to 3-1 on the season.
“We’ve been stressing to the guys to put goals away early,” Desmarteau said. “That first goal was unbelievable. He’s done it in practice, and he’s pretty agile. They usually try it (the bicycle kick) but can’t get it in frame.”
The goal left the crowd buzzing, just in time for Mase’s third of the season to give ACC some working room.
“Jordan’s obviously a pure finisher, and these guys play such a high line, we knew we could get him in behind people, and that’s where he’s really dangerous,” Desmarteau said.
The Red Devils, who entered Wednesday’s game shorthanded with three backline players out with injury, withstood a number of Pratt challenges in the second half, keeping goalkeeper Ajay Murray busy. He had a couple of clean blocks, and his 6-3 frame forced several attackers to shoot wide.
“Sometimes a 2-0 lead is harder to protect than a 1-0 lead,” Desmarteau said. “With 1-0, you’re still playing with some urgency. But Ajaye does a good job of keeping guys motivated. He’s a scary dude.”
The Red Devils were nipped by the injury bug during the match as well. Olimba Gabriel played much of the game with a gash over his eye after a collision early in the match.
“Olimba was a warrior today,” Desmarteau said. “Andre (Ireland) played center back and did a really good job for us.”
Allen returns to action Saturday at Hesston.