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Aceves' hat trick secures Cubs' district crown

Monday, November 5, 2012

District champions. The Monett Cubs soccer team claimed its second district title in school history with a 4-3 victory over Cassville. Members of the champion Cubs are: George Fulton, Juan Salas, Diego DeLeon, Leonardo Regalado, Efrain Ceniceros, Luis Gonzalez, Jairo Rueda, Franciso Morales, Eddie Aceves, Gaspar Sanchez, Will Snider, Misael Cordero, Kole Eden, Enrigue Salas, Jorge Aceves, David Guerrero, Jovany Serrano, Kylar Eden, David Garcia, Caleb Blue, coaches Dan Janssen, Cristobal Villa, managers Kendra DePriest, Crystal Martinez, Kristina Valdaramma and Monica Villa. [Times Photo by Jared Lankford]
Regulation was not enough time to settle the Class 1, District 12 soccer championship between Monett and Cassville.

In the 12th minute of overtime, junior striker Eddie Aceves scooted a line drive worm-burner past a diving Cassville goalie to lift the top-seeded Monett Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the upset-minded Wildcats.

"I looked down at my feet and saw the ball was close," said Aceves. "No one else was going to kick it. I decide to flip it toward the goal and it went in."

It's settled. Monett senior Will Snider controls a pass during the Cubs 4-3 overtime victory over Cassville in the Class 1, District 12 tournament. [Times Photo by Jared Lankford]
While Aceves might have been shocked to see the ball close to his feet, he was quick to put the game into perspective.

"This win was for Coach (Dan) Janssen, our seniors and my brother (Jorge, also a senior on the team)," explained Aceves. "Winning this title was a goal all season. Getting to play another game with my teammates and brother is exciting. Coach Jannsen challenged us to step up. It is a great night."

The district crown was the first for the Cubs since 2001 and second in school history.

Things didn't start well for the purple and gold. Thirty seconds into the contest, Cassville striker David Verde flew past the Monett defense to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.

Eight minutes later, Monett answered when Aceves knotted the score 1-1 off a Jairo Rueda assist.

In the 15th minute, Aceves broke free down the left side of the field to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

Monett could have had two more goals if not for outstanding saves by Cassville goalie Indy Cole in the next two minutes.

The Wildcats would not go quietly. Fixing their defensive alignment, the Wildcats snuffed the Cubs offense for the remainder of the first half.

Cole booted a ball out of the goal in the 34th minute that landed near Verde who drove past the Monett defense and quickly knotted the score at 2-2 before the intermission.

"Initially, we didn't get the start we had envisioned," said Janssen. "Cassville caught us out of position and took advantage. I challenged the boys at halftime to take control of the game and be the aggressor."

Monett stumbled to start the second half, and Verde recorded his third goal of the game in the 50th minute. He nearly had a fourth goal in the 52nd minute off a free kick.

The Cubs then settled down and began to attack. Cole was forced to make six saves over the next 15 minutes as Monett was able to work the ball to the middle of the field of the Wildcats zone.

Monett's persistence finally paid off in the 67th minute. Rueda took a centered pass, spun around and buried a 15-yard shot into the corner of the net.

The goal lifted the spirits of the Cubs and rejuvenated the team's resolve. Monett became the aggressors, attacking the Wildcats and controlling the pace of play.

The Wildcats withstood the Cubs attack and forced the extra time.

Cassville tried to strike quickly in the sudden death overtime frame. Monett goalie David Garcia made two saves to preserve the tie score.

Six minutes into the overtime session, Monett won a throw in. From that point on, the Cubs played on Cassville's end of the field. Three times the Wildcats tried to clear the ball, only to have a Monett player intercept the pass and keep up the offensive pressure.

Finally the ball trickled through the Wildcat's defense and found its way to the left corner of the field where Aceves ended the game with his right leg.

"We stayed calm and kept executing the game plan," said Janssen. "Once we found our rhythm, I thought we controlled the game. Cassville is a quality opponent and played a great game."

The Cubs will host Springfield Catholic in the first round of the playoffs on Nov. 6. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

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