Mingus Union boys soccer lost a leader but still managed to get a draw at Buckeye Estrella Foothills on Tuesday on the road.
The Marauders (2-1-1) tied the Wolves 2-2 despite Estrella Foothills’ advantages. Mingus Union is on an unbeaten streak of three games since losing their season opener.
“They’re a great team, very poised,” said Mingus head coach Calvin Behlow. “They play good soccer, they pass a ton. They walk out of the locker room, all of them about 6 foot tall, I don’t know where they get that height. They just out manned us, they’re huge, they sheer talent is one of the better teams in the state.”
It was the Marauders’ first game since senior captain Ezekiel Behlow suffered a season ending injury.
“They get a very good goal early, we get a goal to even it up half, we’re tied 1-1 and it truly just became about who had more heart and I think that’s going to be the defining factor with this team this year, is the heart,” Calvin Behlow said. “We lost Ezekiel Behlow, our leading scoring the last three years, we lost him to a season ending injury against Dysart, so we knew it’s gut check time, who’s going to show up to play and who wants to play and we did. We out played them, even though they might have been a better skilled team I was really proud of the players, they kept their head, they were getting fouled, they were getting pushed, the fan were obnoxious and we just kept fighting. To come out of there with a tie is a win, when all the chips are added up.”
Ezekiel Behlow started his whole high school career and was picked for All-Region or All-Section three times. Four would have been a school record.
He shattered right clavicle during the Marauders’ 1-0 win over Dysart.
“As far as just the game when it comes to him, we can’t replace him but we have some great players that can fill some shoes,” Calvin Behlow said. “Our team unity can go a long way and I think soccer is definitely a game of 11 players and we showed that (Tuesday) that his offensive threat will be missed but I think that we can make up for it with heart. I think we’ve got a great group of boys that really just want to play.”
Calvin Behlow said he thinks he’s taking the loss harder than his son, who was second team All-State last year.
“I think I’m taking it harder than Ezekiel because I look at it big picture, like this is the last time I ever saw him play, I’ve been coaching him since he was 3 years old and he just looks at it with a grin and says ‘hey, I’m here to support the team’ and I think that speaks volumes for the program that we have here and the culture,” Calvin Behlow said.
Although the Marauders have equaled their win total from last year, senior defender Cayden Ontiveros said they’re looking for more wins.
“It started to get to be a really good game at like the halftime,” Ontiveros said. “That’s when we just knew we had to get it. These games you got to win to get to state and we knew we had to get that one but came up short.”
On Monday the Marauders travel to Mohave before taking their Winter Break. They return on Jan. 5 when they host Lee Williams at 5 p.m.
Calvin Behlow said it’s nice to get a result on the road, especially with the AIA’s unnecessary overtimes in the regular season but they had a lot of chances to get the victory too.
“Wins are great, but when you play that hard, it is still nice to get some sort of result,” Calvin Behlow said. “It worked out the best, I think the result was the right result, it would have been nice to get the win, we had more opportunities, we had 17 shots on goal, they only had 14, we had three 1 v 1s with the keeper that we didn’t put in the back of the net that really could have changed the game.”