YORK – The York Dukes boys soccer team competed well with the Hastings Tigers Tuesday afternoon at the Cornerstone Sports Complex, but ultimately dropped a 2-1 decision that dipped their season record to 1-3.
Hastings, which improved to 3-3 with the win, took a 2-0 lead early and wound up holding on for the win despite York cutting its deficit to 2-1 just a couple minutes before halftime thanks to a goal from Dukes’ sophomore Lane Wurst.
According to York head coach Chad Mattox, the same issue that’s been hurting the Dukes this season popped up again Tuesday, and it’s something the coaching staff is trying to find ways to fix.
“The challenge that we have – and that’s on me as the coach – is we have to get our guys to play better at the beginning of the game,” Mattox said. “Whether it’s our warmup, or just doing something different, we need to do that. Because it seems like in three out of the four games we’ve come out flat and haven’t done enough early on to get ourselves in position to win.”
Mattox noted his team had around three first-half scoring opportunities that they didn’t convert because they weren’t doing the basics, like making runs and following shots.
Hastings got on the board in the 28th minute when Tigers’ junior Jimmy Murillo weaved through the Dukes’ defense, which was without injured senior starter Wyatt Cast, and released a shot that bounced off the crossbar and off a York player into the net for an own goal.
One minute later, Murillo did the same thing, except this time he didn’t miss the goal and put his team on top 2-0.
With just a couple minutes left in the first half, York got on the board. Following a throw-in from Elias Coppinger, York’s Alex Velasquez headed the ball towards the net and it was headed again by Hastings’ Mikey Hernandez. The ball fell to the ground and found the right foot of Wurst, who initially missed the ball on his first attempt at it. Wurst still had time to collect the loose ball, however, and scored with his left foot.
Mattox said he and his staff asked the Dukes to play with more attitude, effort and emotion in the second half. York had some success applying pressure on the Hastings’ goal in the final 40 minutes but was just never able score.
“I’m very proud of them for that,” Mattox said of his team’s adjustment in the second half. “Hastings is a good team and a great program. They weren’t going to give us this game at all. It was a back-and-forth effort in the second half.”
York is off until Saturday when it travels to Lexington (5-1) for its first road game of the season at 10 a.m. Lexington was preseason Class B No. 6 in the Omaha World-Herald.