Brooke boys hang on to beat John Marshall, 3-2

GLEN DALE – Normally in soccer the team that is able to distribute the ball around more consistently is the team that is going to emerge with the victory.

Monday afternoon Brooke proved that point to John Marshall, but it wasn’t easy and it took a second half comeback to accomplish it.

The Bruins scored a fluke goal midway through the second half to knot the score before sophomore Jacob Kennedy’s blast from inside the box found the far corner of the net with just 4:30 to play and the defense did the rest as Brooke escaped Marshall County with a 3-2 victory over John Marshall.

Neither team was able to mount much offense the initial 20 minutes of play before head coach Brian Cerullo’s Bruins (2-4) began taking charge and dominating play. Brooke, which out-shot the Monarchs (1-6) by a 6-3 margin in the opening half, took a 1-0 lead on senior Nick Stillson’s long lead pass to Kennedy, who knocked in his first goal of the afternoon.

It looked like that might stand before coach Jesus Marin’s squad scored on a pair of corner kicks just two minutes apart. The first came as Reed Campbell’s kick glanced off the head of a John Marshall player before Alex Brown deposited the loose ball into net the make it a 1-1 count with 4:47 showing.

With Campbell temporarily out of the game, it was Brown’s turn to get the assist, sending a long, high kick toward the net that Austin Litman banged into goal on a header at 2:48 to provide the hosts with a halftime lead.

“We got some momentum there late in the first half with the corner kick goals,” Marin said. “But it didn’t last and we fell apart in the second half. When you get momentum you have to build on it and take advantage while you are on an up. But instead of attacking we just lost it as quick as we got it.”

Brooke managed to forge another deadlock with 21:02 to play when Ty Sicurella’s slow dribbler toward the net managed to get under the legs of keeper Collin Stipetich from 15 yards out to make it 2-2. But with the score still tied Kennedy produced the game-winner on a blast into the back corner of the net with 4:30 to go.

Unfortunately for John Marshall, the Monarchs were never able to even get the ball back across midfield the remainder of the way.

“We got off to a slow start, and give John Marshall a lot of credit, they really capitalized on those corner kicks in the first half,” Cerullo admitted. “But I was pleased at how we came out and responded in the second half, the kids battled to the end and we won an awful lot of 50-50 balls.

“These guys work hard at practice and I think conditioning paid off a little bit (Monday). There are still some pieces we need to work on. There were some things that we managed to get away with, and I am not pleased at all at how we handled their corners.”

Marin, meanwhile, was not happy with the loss, but felt lucky that his team was even in the game late.

“Really we were lucky that it wasn’t worse,” he commented. “They controlled the ball and the play in the second half and at times we acted like we were afraid of the ball. We had opportunities, but the difference in this game was passing.

“We kicked the ball around a lot, but you have to realize that soccer is not a game that is about kicking the ball, it is about passing it.”

While knocking two of three attempts into goal in the first half, John Marshall was not credited with a shot over the final 40 minutes of play.

Brooke keeper Chris Beaman had one save.