STERLING – With conference play right around the corner, the Sterling boys soccer team wants to be hitting its stride.
Consider that stride hit.
The Golden Warriors had no difficulty posting a 6-0 victory against Alleman on Monday at Sterling Chevrolet Field at Roscoe Eades Stadium. It was a varsity-only contest.
Sterling (3-1-3) bolted to 4-0 halftime lead, but head coach Brian Cebula was actually happier with his team’s play in the second half. He’s been imploring his team to play a more controlled style. In the second 40 minutes, he saw some positive signs.
“The first half was kick the ball, chase it and try to get a goal,” Cebula said. “The second half, we spread the field and basically made the other team chase us for the ball. That exposed their weaknesses.”
“At the beginning of the year, we couldn’t connect with each other correctly,” freshman forward Tony Diaz said.
“But now we’ve gotten used to each other more. It’s been easier to score more goals.”
Diaz and Carlos Gallardo were a potent 1-2 punch for Sterling. Diaz had four goals and one assist, while Gallardo finished with two goals and three assists. They have combined for 21 goals and 14 assists thus far this season.
“Overall, I think we can play better,” Diaz said. “Scoring those goals was fun, but knowing that we can play better kind of leaves a sour taste in your mouth.”
Marco Calderas and Santana Trujillo added assists for Sterling. Jared Fernandez had a quiet night in goal, as he needed to make just two saves to record his second shutout.
For Alleman coach Jeff Bernhardt, it was another learning experience for his young team. The Pioneers (3-8-1) have just 21 players, with three seniors in the starting lineup.
“All season I’ve been preaching keep the ball on the floor, get it wide and look for the through-balls,” Bernhardt said. “We’re a young crew, and this season they’ve just got to learn to take their hard knocks, and hopefully learn from it and move on.”
Star of the game: Tony Diaz (S), 4 goals, 1 assist
Key performers: Carlos Gallardo (S), 3 assists, 2 goals; Jared Fernandez (S), 2 saves
Up next: Streator at Sterling, 6 p.m. today