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All great traditions have to start somewhere, and for Mooseheart’s boys soccer team, “somewhere” was the Illinois Math and Science Academy, site of the Ramblers initial game in their inaugural season.
The host Titans spoiled Mooseheart’s opening match with a 6-0 victory, but the final score was the only disappointing thing in a match where the Ramblers showed they had talent and could compete with a well-established program.
“We’re now a real varsity team that has a regular season result,” Mooseheart coach Paul Klinger said. “IMSA brought its “A Game” and put it to us, especially their offense.”
Even that scoreline came with a few caveats. While Mooseheart fell behind in less than 3 minutes through a Nikita Elkin goal, the Ramblers kept the match a 1-0 nearly until halftime. In fact, the visitors ended the match with some sustained attacking play – which ended with IMSA broke the other direction and Edwin Alcantara scored. Only 34 seconds remained until halftime.
“We felt good about our defense,” Klinger said. “Alfonso Bailey did a good job in goal in the first half. Jesse Mirelez did a really good job in goal in the second half as well. We had some solid defense, and we’ll work on our offensive play.”
Given a free kick in the second minute of the second half, IMSA increased its lead to 3-0 when Elkin converted his second goal of the match. As the second half progressed, Mooseheart tired and IMSA began to dominate. Still, the Ramblers competed through the final whistle.
“We worked hard in practice, but it’s different to come out to a live game,” Klinger said. “We were happy to see a nice crowd come out – some family teachers, administrators, teachers and some students and Moose members. The boys love to know that there are people behind the scenes cheering for them.”
Declan Creaney, Brandon Park and Hasan Almousawi added further IMSA goals to complete the scoring. Mooseheart’s team was anything but dejected after completing its first varsity boys soccer match. The Ramblers return to action Sept.4 with the program’s inaugural home match, a 4:30 contest against Yorkville Christian.