Indian Springs boys and girls advance to 2nd round

Published 2:56 pm Friday, April 23, 2021

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By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – The No. 1 ranked Indian Springs boys soccer team looked every bit the top team in their opening game of the 4A-5A playoffs especially in the second half to close out and advance. Marbury, a solid team in their own right, fended the Springs off for as long as they could on the road, but ISS advanced with a bit 4-0 win in front of the home crowd.

“I’ve not played Marbury before after coaching 20 years and I️ thought they were incredibly well-coached. All credit to them, they were more skillful and tactically aware than I️ thought they’d be,” said head coach Rick Tozzi. “They tried to play us deep trying to take away our strength which is our ability to penetrate and get behind (the defense) and create one-one-ones.”

Marbury (17-4-1) used this approach to slow down the dangerous, potent offense of Indian Springs giving them fewer looks at the goal. Although the Springs did put one on the board before the half, Marbury was certainly within reach of an upset of the top seed at the moment.

“I️ thought our boys adjusted well and, frankly, we should’ve had another two in the first half, we missed two sitters we should’ve put away,” Tozzi said. “Usually in a game like that if you just stay solid and hold the ball your chances are going to come and you just have to stay patient.”

Even though the score remained close for a time, Indian Springs thoroughly controlled the pace of the game. Their ball movement and control was on full display as Marbury never truly threatened throughout the match.

The chances came in bunches as the Springs began to separate toward the middle of the second half. Nathan Tozzi was the first to punch in a goal after the break scooting past the final defender on a long pass, played the ball well and skipped a shot into the left corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs had a good shot at getting back in the game with 16:50 to go, but a free shot just at the top of the box sailed straight to the goalie. Indian Springs (20-2-1) would seal the deal minutes later as Jackson Nabors penetrated the defense controlling a long pass sneaking his shot past the goalie into the left corner.

Bruce Lanier would follow that up with the final goal a minute later with a nifty goal to close things out as he connected with a cross in the goalie box with a sideways kick that squirted through the goalie’s hands for the 4-0 final.

Tozzi spoke after the game on what he wants his team to focus on to advance to the third round.

“I️ want them to ralax, I️ want them to stay healthy and get their schoolwork done so they don’t have to worry about it next week,” Tozzi said, with a smile. “I️ want them to play relaxed and understand the mental intensity part of the game.”

Indian Springs will face the winner of John Carrol Catholic and Sipsey Valley Monday, April 26.

The girls team also picked up a win against Marbury in the opening round to advance.

After taking a 2-0 lead early in the matchup, they were forced to overcome a comeback effort from the Bulldogs, but Springs went on to grab a 3-2 win to advance.

They’ll take on Altamont at home on April 27 at 5 p.m.