Marauders split with Page<br><i>Second-half goal enough to lift Mingus boys to first region win</i>
Staff photo by Eric Lusk
Layne Johnson (left) gets tangled up with a Page player late in Saturday's game. Mingus Union won 1-0 and begins region play on top of the standings.
The win lifts the Marauders to 5-9 overall. More importantly, coach Duane Badger's squad begins the vital four-game Grand Canyon Region schedule with a victory.
"I continue to emphasize to the team that all the games prior to the region games are played to allow them to learn to play and hone their skills in preparation for region play," coach Badger said. "The Marauders' goal is to secure the Grand Canyon Region championship by winning the next three games."
Mingus cleared its first hurdle with great defense and a persistent offense. The Marauders outshot Page 21-1. The Sand Devils didn't get off a single shot in the second half.
Reggie Baron appeared to score for the Marauders late in the first half, but referees waved the goal off.
"It was called back by the center official who felt that Reggie was too aggressive in his attempt, which caused him to collide with the Page goal keeper," Badger said.
The two teams went into halftime tied 0-0. The Marauders came out the stronger bunch after intermission, and it was only a matter of time before someone found the net.
"The team regrouped and came out focused on the intent of playing a better possession game and not so much on reacting to Page's chip and run offense," Badger said. "Mingus did possess the ball for nearly the entire second half. Finally, after many shots were knocked down by the Sand Devil goalie, Sean Morris scored on a corner kick from Larry Badger."
The Marauders will host Flagstaff on Thursday and will finish the quick GCR season at Coconino on Saturday and at Sinagua next Thursday. Mingus will host the region tournament Jan. 28 through Feb. 2.
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Badger's group nearly swiped a big win last week in their final non-region game. Mingus led a solid Saguaro squad 1-0 at the half but fell 3-1.
Raymond Rivera netted the Marauders' goal on an assist from Morris. Mingus held its own against the Scottsdale team despite the absence of two starting forwards, Jordan Webb and Josh Collingwood, who were out sick and injured, respectively.
"The score does not reflect the play of the game," coach Badger said.
"The team watched the game video on Friday, viewed their errors and made adjustments to ensure they did not happen again. We had a good practice and felt we were ready to take on the Page Sand Devils Saturday afternoon."
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