Reservoir senior Jonny Tshibadi couldn’t help but dance after he scored with 13 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first half of Thursday’s home game against Glenelg.
He knew it was an important goal considering how much his team controlled the play and how many chances they had, and even more so when they think back to the number of chances they failed to put away in a 1-1 draw versus Atholton on Tuesday.
The goal allowed the Gators to settle down and stop pressing, and the second goal from junior captain Rudy Ventura put an exclamation point on what turned out to be a 2-0 victory and kept Reservoir unbeaten at 3-0-1.
“It gets very frustrating because we had a problem scoring goals last year, too, so to get that goal and get a breakthrough, it was a sense of relief not only for me but the guys,” said Gators coach Jason Hall. “To get the second goal, I think at that point we knew we had things under control.”
With 10 new starters, Glenelg managed to string together only a handful of scoring opportunities and were shutout for the third time in five games, falling to 0-4-1 on the season.
“We just are having some slow starts and one of the things we’ve been trying to focus on is to come out a little bit faster, but with having a lot of new guys experience is hurting us in not being prepared,” said Gladiators coach Joseph Osborne. “It’s not an excuse once you’re out on the field, but it seems to be taking us longer to get into the games.”
Reservoir commanded the ball through the first 20 minutes but it was Glenelg with the first serious scoring threat. Gators senior goalie Brandon Evans hesitated on a through ball up the middle but did just enough to make a point-blank stop, and a follow-up shot sailed just over the crossbar.
The senior recovered from there, however, and played especially well in the final 20 minutes when Glenelg had the majority of its chances against the Gators’ reserves.
Tshibadi’s dance came a little more than five minutes after Evans’ near mistake. The Gators sent ball after ball through the wings, especially on the right side, and it eventually resulted in their first goal as freshman Glen Lee sent a ball into the left side of the box and onto Tshibadi’s right foot. Tshibadi got just enough of it after a bounce and put Reservoir up 1-0.
“That’s something that we’ve been working on in practice,” Hall said, “playing balls through the wings and getting crosses in ... and get some of my fast guys on the ball.”
Hall said at halftime he “pleaded” with his team to give Ventura the ball and let him make something happen. “Rudy’s an excellent player,” he said. “He’s not the fastest player but he’s got sneaky speed and he’s fast enough, he’s very quick with the ball and he’s got excellent skills and a great shot.”
Sure enough, Ventura got more involved early in the second half and didn’t need much room to give the Gators a 2-0 lead. Debruyn Cedeno sent the pass and Ventura lofted his shot from the center of the field and over Glenelg freshman goalie Matt Thurnes.
Hall slowly emptied his bench in the final 20 minutes and the Gladiators had the Gators on their heels, but a goal never came.
Reservoir will be at Oakland Mills on Sept. 19, while Glenelg will be at Marriotts Ridge.
Reservoir (1-0-1, 3-0-1) — 2, Glenelg (0-2, 0-4-1) — 0