In the opening 16 minutes of Monday night’s sectional quarterfinal contest against the Logansport Berries, the Marion Giants controlled the tempo of the contest, making crisp passes and creating several scoring chances.
But a goal from Logansport’s Sam Dexter in the 16th minute changed the tide of the game, and three second half tallies by the Berries proved to be the difference in a 5-2 victory at Dick Lootens Stadium.
Juan Perez scored twice in less than a minute in the second half, while Giovanni Avila and Pedro Silveira also scored for the Berries.
“Tonight, we created some opportunities and scored, but my God, they scored some nice goals,” Marion Head Coach Jorge Berry said. “We fought back and fought back, but that penalty kick stabbed us. Juan [Perez,] who played up top, he can hit balls left and right. He’s solid. He’s just a solid player.”
After Dexter’s goal, the Berries grabbed all of the momentum. Their offense found their rhythm, and their defense did a much better job of keeping the Marion offense off balance.
Kyle Coryea notched the equalizer for the Giants with 17:58 to play in the first half off a great pass in front of the net from Kevin Guy, but Logansport regained the advantage just 57 seconds later on a long-range shot from Avila.
The Giants continued to battle, tying the contest up again with 2:18 left in the opening stanza. JD Fagan dribbled the ball between two Logansport defenders and blasted the ball past Berries’ goalkeeper Moo Htoo.
Logansport took control for good in the first seven minutes of the second half. Perez scored his first goal on a breakaway off a great feed from Lenny Casimiro, and just 49 seconds later, the Berries’ junior captain converted a penalty kick to make it 4-2 with 33:41 remaining in regulation.
The Giants were unable to recover after that, and Silveira added an insurance goal in 62nd minute off a free kick to secure Logansport’s victory and end the Giants’ season.
“It happens,” Berry said of the loss. “It’s unfortunate. But we have to move on and start thinking about next year.”
Marion finished the 2019 season with a 9-8record.
While the season may be over, Marion’s group of seniors is one that Berry will not soon forget. Jack White, Mario Garcia, Garrett Scher, Joseph Powell, Isak Lagerkvist, Kasai Balderas, Drew Bartrum, Gavin Purvis, Elijah Jenkins, Jaelyn Cruzan, Kolyn Ashbrooke, Braden Conero, and Kevin Guy all contributed to the Giants’ success in one way or another over the course of their tenures, and they will be truly missed.
“For how hard they worked, they just made it fun,” Berry said. “We did things off the field. We went the movies. We did car washes together. It just felt really, really good. They’re good soccer players, but they are better young men. I’m very proud of them. I’m very proud of all of them.”
Even with those losses, the Giants are still set up for success, both next year and in the seasons to come.
“We have [Kyle and JD] returning, along with Zane [Scott] and Alex Powell. We will have Malik back as keeper,” Berry said. “We will be okay. We will be good next year.”