MARION — Ezra Robinson’s second hat trick of the season led Carbondale to a 3-0 win over Marion in a boys soccer battle for second place in the South Seven Conference Tuesday night on the turf at Wildcat Stadium.
“We played OK in the first half and make a few adjustments at halftime,” said Carbondale coach Jeff Hansen. “They had a couple of good chances early, but then we started to buckle down. We talked about a couple of their players to keep off the ball at the half. Our guys executed so perfectly in the second half. A couple of those goals were just effort goals. He just wanted it more. Anytime these two schools get together we want to beat them and tonight we did.”
Carbondale (9-8) took over second place in the conference with a 5-2 record while Marion dropped to 4-3 and 9-6 overall.
“We could have played better,” said Marion coach Rob Underwood. “First half we did really well, but the second half I don’t know if we were tired or the rain started - I don’t know what happened – we kind of lost our focus.”
Carbondale drew first blood with 27:29 left in the game on a great play by Nate Torres to set up Ezra Robinson in front of the net for the goal. Torres raced into the left corner and beat the Marion defender to the ball. The senior continued toward the net and sent a perfect cross pass that both the Marion goalkeeper Nehemiah Goodman and Robinson were making a bead for. Robinson barely beat Goodman to the ball and one-touched it into the net.
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“Nathan went to the front post and I just followed it at the far post and hit it in,” Robinson said.
One minute and 28 seconds later, Marion almost tied the game when Mikel Arbelziz-Aguirre blasted a shot from the right of the Terrier net that hit the hands of Terrier goalkeeper Alex VanWinkle and continued over his fingertips and hit the crossbar.
“It started raining and I was not going to let that one in,” VanWinkle said. “He was good at making the wall jump and I was able to read it that time.”
Robinson made it 2-0 with 18:46 left in the game on another great pass and another shot from around the same spot he scored his first goal from.
“They played it back and they bobbled it, so I just ran through them and then to the goal,” Robinson said.
Robinson scored again less than two minutes later when the sophomore got behind the Marion defense for a clean shot on Goodman, but instead of shooting he made a move and when Goodman fell down he went around, but his shot was blocked by one of the Marion defenders. Robinson picked up the rebound and easily put the ball in the back of the goal for the hat trick to double his season total of goals to six.
“I dribbled it past the goalie and he fell down,” Robinson said. “My first shot was blocked, but I got it back and tapped it in.”
Marion had an excellent chance to take the lead at the 11:38 mark of the first half when Daniel Hernandez got open in front of the net and VanWinkle came out almost to the top of the 18. Hernandez blasted a shot dead center about 10 feet in front of VanWinkle, but the senior made a diving save to his right to stop the shot.
“It was instincts, reflexes and footwork,” VanWinkle said. “I thought he was going to chip me and he didn’t so I was able to get my feet set. I was at the PK mark when I made the save and for a second I actually thought that was a goal, but I was able to get my hands on it. I felt it, especially at the end of the half.”