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Cubs open HHC play with 2-0 victory over Jennings
, Courier Sportswriter
Friday, August 29, 2014 11:00 AM
GOAL: Madison’s Zach Lutes celebrates (above, 18) with Jennings County goalie Jackson Shepherd in the background after scoring his second goal and rubs teammate Sam Heitz’s head (below) after his first goal during Thursday’s game at the junior high. Lutes scored both the Cubs’ goals in the 2-0 win. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Madison dominated the action from beginning to end and opened the Hoosier Hills Conference portion of its schedule with a 2-0 win over Jennings County in boys soccer on Thursday.
The Cubs fired 25 shots at the Jennings goal while allowing the Panthers just six. Senior Zach Lutes scored both of Madison's goals, one in each half.
Although Madison coach Jeff Gleeson would have liked to have seen his team finish more of its chances, he was very pleased with the win.
"I really can't complain too much but the finishing killed us," Gleeson said. "But their goalie was incredible. He was a great a goalie. But we helped him a lot, too. It was nice to see us dominate from the start to the finish. I was really worried about coming off a game against a weaker opponent (on Tuesday) how we would react to a stronger opponent but we responded well."
Jennings County keeper Jackson Shepherd stopped 12 shots in the game, three of which came on acrobatic plays. But the Panther junior needed to play his best just to fend off the attacking Cubs.
Madison (2-0-1, 1-0 HHC) didn't score right off the kickoff like it did in a 5-0 rout of Silver Creek on Tuesday, but the Cubs kept up the pressure on for all 80 minutes.
That pressure didn't translate into a goal until five minutes before halftime when Lutes finally broke through. The senior got behind the Jennings defense and had plenty of time to line up a shot that beat Shepherd on the right.
Midway through the second half Lutes added an insurance score when he collected a loose ball in front of the net off a direct kick from Connor Kiefer and fired it into the goal.
On Tuesday Gleeson called out his senior leader saying he wanted him to look more for his shot. On Thursday, the coach was pleased with the results.
"Zach has a tendency to play in front of the defense instead of playing behind the defense," Gleeson said, "and he has a tendency to try to think too much and think he has to try to create something instead of just creating space and finishing. He's a terrific finisher, it's just a case of getting him into space. He's not there yet but he'll get there."
All that was left for Madison to do was to keep Jennings in check, something it did with ease. Goalie Grant Holloway needed only four saves to record his second-straight shutout as the Madison defenders made his life easy. In three games to date, the Cub defense has allowed only one goal, to Southwestern's Coleman Jackson in the opener when the Cubs and Rebels tied 1-1.
"Our defense has really learned how to cut off those lanes and not let teams get connected," Gleeson said. "Once you start playing quality teams like (Jennings), they can pop the ball around a lot easier, but if you can stay connected and shut off those lanes, you can have success. We've done a much better job of that than we have in a long time."
A total of 24 fouls were called in the game with Jennings getting whistled 13 times and also collecting a yellow card. Madison held a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Madison now takes the Labor Day weekend off before returning to action on Tuesday at Charlestown. The Cubs then host Jeffersonville on Thursday in a key HHC tilt.
Pacers beat Lady Cubs
Switzerland County scored a 4-0 win over Madison in girls soccer Thursday in Vevay.
Madison, now 0-2 on the season, hosts Columbus East on Tuesday. Switzerland visits Rising Sun today.
Panthers fall to Collins
Carroll County dropped a 3-2 decision to Collins in boys soccer at home on Thursday.
Alex Burns scored a goal for the Panthers.
Carroll County, now 2-3, visits to Garrard County on Saturday.
PHOTOS: Cubs open HHC play with 2-0 victory over Jennings
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