By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
Zach Parr scored a pair of goals for Anna-Jonesboro, and the Wildcats defense shut down the Rams soccer team on Monday.
Anna-Jonesboro won the match 4-0. Parr scored a goal in each half. Alejandro Paneda opened the scoring midway through the first half. John Haar added a score late in the game for Anna-Jonesboro.
“What they did a little bit better than we did was their midfield possession,” Mt. Vernon coach Jim Duncan said. “We work all summer. We've worked all year on keeping a tight diamond (of players) in the middle, and for some reason tonight I could see it before the game. I could see our guys were just mentally checked out.”
The Wildcats created an assortment of offensive chances against Mt. Vernon. The dominance led to them outshooting the Rams 18-6.
“They have great touches, first touches on the ball, and they move the ball well,” Duncan said. “They're very organized on the attack, a little better than we are. That's just stuff we have to work on to be a little better.”
Mt. Vernon's best moments were all in the second half after an unsettled opening 40 minutes. Duncan said his team was able to regroup at halftime and re-establish its structure in the middle of the field. Five of Mt. Vernon's six shots on goal came in the second half.
“They know to play that way, but they weren't tonight,” Duncan said.
The Rams were able to create a couple scoring opportunities late in the game.
With 26 minutes left, Mt. Vernon goalie J.J. Wiegel launched a long punt down the field. Striker Mac Jones ran underneath the ball, but the Anna-Jonesboro goalie cleared the ball away from danger and knocked it out of bounds.
In the waning seconds, Mt. Vernon's Josh Cortez settled the ball near the top of the penalty box and ripped a shot, but it sailed over the crossbar.
Wiegel finished with 10 saves.
Mt. Vernon is 8-7-1 this season and hosts Centralia on Thursday.