No goalkeeper wants to face a penalty kick. It’s a lonely feeling trying to protect the 24-foot-wide, 8-foot-high goal mouth one-on-one against an opponent just 12 yards away.
Unfortunately for Clinton’s Paolo Marilim, that’s just the position he found himself in twice early in the River Kings’ match against visiting Davenport Central on Tuesday night. Both times, Central senior Joey Storto connected, and the goals started the Blue Devils on their way to a 7-0 win at the Ashford University Soccer Complex.
“That was tough; it took a chip off our morale,” Clinton coach Matt Hagge said.
“That definitely helped,” Storto said of gaining the quick 2-0 edge. “It’s hard when you get down, especially when it’s penalty kicks.”
Storto connected at the 5-minute, 5-second mark and again at 12:29 after the River Kings committed fouls inside the penalty area.
“I pick a side and try to put speed and accuracy on it — and don’t kick it over (the crossbar),” Storto said of his strategy on penalty kicks.
His strategy works. He is 4-for-4 on penalty kicks this year, accounting for nearly half of his team-high nine goals for the Blue Devils (8-2, 3-1 Mississippi Athletic Conference).
Central added one more first-half goal, then scored four times after intermission for the final margin.
“I thought we hung with them in the first half,” Hagge said. “I’m happy with our effort overall. We’re a work in progress.
“They’re a good team; last week they knocked off No. 1 Bettendorf.”
Hagge also said the seven goals weren’t a reflection of the game Marilim played in goal.
“Paolo played a good game,” Hagge said. “He’s nursing a knee injury, and I didn’t know if he would be able to play.”
Central controlled the play most of the game, outshooting Clinton 27-9. The River Kings stopped Central’s initial attack, but D.J. Gibbs was fouled by Tommy Tholen in the penalty area, setting up Storto’s first penalty shot in the fifth minute.
Storto got another attempt at the 27:31 mark after a trip in the penalty area, and once again he connected.
The Blue Devils made it 3-0 with 6:58 left in the first half when Jay Stadelman drilled a hard shot from the left side of the box that went off Marilim for the goal.
Clinton had several offensive opportunities late in the first half.
John Gunderson sent a cross in front of the goal that was deflected to teammate Mankato Stonebrook, whose shot was high. Later, Arin Smith sent a free kick toward Gunderson near the 18-yard line, but it was a bit too far and Central’s Collin Iglehart headed it away. Just before the half, Tholen sent a shot just wide of the goal.
The Blue Devils put the game away in the second half.
Storto set up the first goal when he pushed the ball ahead to Mitch Portz on the left side. Portz raced ahead into the box and toward the goal line, put a nice move on Clinton defender Brandon Burkhart, curled back toward the center — pulling Marilim away from the left goal post and then slipped the ball past Marilim on the short side.
“We kind of talked about spreading it out and getting them tired,” Storto said.
Hagge said that, and the toll from some injuries in the second half, allowed the Blue Devils to control the second half.
Clinton (2-6, 0-4) returns to MAC play Thursday with a boys-girls doubleheader at Davenport Assumption.
Clinton’s junior varsity team gave Hagge reason for happiness Tuesday. The River Kings beat Central 3-0 in the preliminary, avenging a 3-2 loss to the Blue Devils at a tournament this past weekend. Josh Westphalen, Austin Dondiego and P.J. Newton scored for the Kings.
DAVENPORT CENTRAL 7, CLINTON 0
Central 3 4 — 7
Clinton 0 0 — 0
DC — Joey Storto (PK), 5:05
DC — Storto (PK), 12:29
DC — Jay Stadelman (unassisted), 33:02
DC — Mitch Portz (Storto), 42:18
DC — D.J. Gibbs (Portz), 51:29
DC — Jose Hernandez (Estevan Dixon), 53:54
DC — Ben McCullough (Hernandez), 63:34
Total shots — Central 27; Clinton 9. Saves — Central, Sabin Paudel (80:00, 4 saves); Clinton, Paolo Marilim (63:34, 6 saves); Cortez Moore (16:26, 4 saves).
Corner kicks — Central 11; Clinton 1.
Yellow cards — Central, Hernandez (67:21); Clinton, Mankato Stonebrook (75:07).