Perry soccer falls behind late twice in opening tournament
The last time the Bluejays laced up, they began the season on a seven-game win streak in 2019. This year starts on a different foot as Perry (0-2) opened its season with back-to-back tournament losses Saturday at home against Greene County (3-2 loss) and Des Moines North (5-2 loss).
While both games ended in the visitors' favor, the Bluejays were only a couple of pieces away from telling the opposite story. In both matches, Perry was able to keep a 2-2 tied score before falling out of favor with the scoreboard.
Against Greene County, Perry was the first to score and after briefly falling behind, forced penalty kicks at the end of regulation. The advantage went in favor of the Rams after going a perfect 5-for-5 while Perry missed one kick.
A similar story unfolded against Des Moines North as Perry alternated scores for a tied 2-2 first half. Much like Greene County's bonus performance, the Polar Bears pulled away with a flawless second-half as they put together three unanswered goals.
"Honestly, we were playing with them until we quit playing with them," Perry head coach Gary Overla said. "They got the third goal and the floodgates opened and we just lost everything at that point. We weren't finding feet. Weren't connecting passes. Weren't defending properly. It went to the old proverbial hell in a handbasket."
Before either game fell out of Perry's control, freshman Sergio Sanchez was largely responsible for keeping both games competitive. He walked away with two goals and a penalty kick against Greene County and had one assist in the second game.
"Phenomenal player," Overla said. "He's a beast. The kid just doesn't quit and he's constantly [making plays]."
As impressive as the freshman's performance was, Perry was a shell of itself missing a handful of key components due to injury or fatigue. Sanchez even briefly departed the game after a collision during a scoring play.
Only 10 minutes into the first game, one of the team's most seasoned athletes Abraham Ruiz left with an injury. The absences only mounted from there.
"It really matters when you have two essential defenders that the kids can kind of count on. In the second half, we lost a goalie [in the second game], and we didn't have Abraham to begin with," Overla commented. "The essential part of the defense is the heart of everything that goes on there. If we don't have two key components, it makes a big difference."
On top of the bodies on the sideline, Overla noted how his young team is still learning the mentality and responsibilities that come with playing varsity high school sports.
Perry has an appointment Monday, March 5 at ADM for the Bluejays' next game.