Boys Soccer: Monarchs split first four league games

The Monarchs are 2-2 in CSL play after losing to Selma then defeating Hanford West

By Jermaine Johnson II

EXETER – This year’s Exeter team is nowhere near the squad that won the Division VI Valley Championship last season. They have only won three of their 12 games so far but two of them have been against league opponents. 

Last Tuesday, nothing went right in a 5-0 loss at home against Selma. The Bears dominated from beginning to end as they immediately got on the board in the second minute of the game. A simple kick from the middle of the field went right around Exeter’s goalie and into the back of the net. 

“We’re playing very remedial; we’re not sticking to the basics and we’re doing a lot of silly things. You can’t do that against good teams,” Exeter head coach Pete Renteria said. 

The coach was very critical of his goalie who allowed some easy goals throughout the night. 

Selma’s speed seemed to be too much for the Monarchs as they were on offense for a majority of the first 20 minutes of the game. In the 23rd minute of the game, a Selma player had a step on the defense and was looking to score but was tackled by a Monarch. That resulted in a penalty kick that was initially blocked by the goalie but another Selma player came in on clean up duty and tapped the ball in for the game’s second goal. Exeter’s offense got a little bit of a spark after that, but it didn’t result in any points as the Bears were up 2-0 at halftime. 

The second half followed a similar story of the first. Selma scored early to go up 3-0 as they continued to dominate. Their offense got way more shots on goal than Exeter while their defense made it hard for the Monarchs to operate. Another factor in the Monarchs struggle on offense was their lack of communication. According to Renteria, that is one of the main things he will focus on in practice as his team tries to find their identity.

“We’re a young team, we lost 13 kids from last year’s valley championship team and we’re trying to find ourselves still,” he said. “With the season starting in November we still haven’t found a groove yet.”

Selma seemed to put the icing on the cake in the 29th minute as they scored a beautiful goal on the right hash of the field from about 15 yards out. The ball was well placed and Exeter’s goalie struggled to track it down. The game was all but over as the Bears got another goal in stoppage time when Exeter’s goalie received a yellow card and then allowed a goal on the ensuing penalty kick. That was the fifth and final goal of the night.

According to Renteria, when it rains…it pours for his team. Thankfully for the Monarchs, the season is far from over. Two days later they went on to defeat Hanford West 3-1 and improved to 2-2 in the Central Sequoia League. They’re in fourth place and are two games behind the 4-0 Dinuba Emperors who sit in first place. They have one more game to play in the first round of league matchups which is against Kingsburg on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. After that, they get a chance to play every team again.

“We’re looking through the telescope and we see where the division is, but we’re not doing the microscopic things to get there,” Renteria said.

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