EATON – The Franklin Monroe Jets boys soccer team put a scare into the state ranked Bethel Bees in a 2-1 Tuesday night tournament loss. Bethel put a 16-1-1 record against the 6-8-2 FM season mark including an earlier 9-0 Bethel win over the young Jets team.
“We had a game plan the boys executed almost to a ‘T’,” said FM Coach Danny Diceanu. “In the end somebody has to lose. I hated it to be us but I am still proud of my boys. I thought we played very hard, very well.”
“We lost but I feel like we won,” added Diceanu. “The kids played excellent. That’s the most you can ask for the kids to do – play at their best and I thought that tonight.”
The veteran Bees entered the night with a lineup that included 13 senior while the Franklin Monroe team included several freshman starters taking the field.
“These boys work hard but the talent wasn’t there like in the past years,” Diceanu said of his team. “We’re pretty young. We have some freshman starting, got some guys playing that haven’t played a whole lot of soccer compared to what I’ve had in the past.”
“This is our fifth state ranked team that we have faced this year so these boys are tested. I’m proud of them. I thought tonight we played our best game of the year with maybe the exception of Troy Christian.”
The Jets held the explosive Bees scoreless through the entire first half and nearly 29 minutes of second half play before Bethel found the back of the net with a strong wind at their back with 11:17 showing on the second half clock.
“What can you say,” Diceanu said. “They (Bethel) scored 104 goals all year long, nine on us the first time around. We’ve given up 58 goals overall and to hold these guys down for all but the last 12 minutes when all the goals happened, that’s a fantastic job and these boys did it out there. They executed the game plan.”
Bethel made it a 2-0 at 7:34 with the Jets battling back to make it a 2-1 match when Bryce Robison took advantage of a Bees hand ball, driving a penalty shot into the net with 1:16 on the board.
“I just wish we had a little bit more time at that stage but that’s what you want from your captain and when the opportunity – seize the moment. When he did that it gave us a chance to maybe pull one off,” noted Diceanu. “Just didn’t have a miracle in us today.”
“I’m very proud of the boys,” said Diceanu. “Every game it’s a different situation, a different animal to work against. I thought some games we didn’t show and some games we fought. The schedule we have is pretty tough so it’s hard to sustain and continue to have the excellence we’ve had over the years because we don’t have quite the talent that we’ve had.”
FM seniors Zach Cable, Parker Hesler, Cole McGlinch and Bryce Robison played their final high school soccer match for the Jets.
“Hate to see them go,” Diceanu said of his seniors. “I had them since they were 11. I’ll miss them.”
With the 2017 season now history, Coach Diceanu is optimistic looking to the 2018 Jets soccer program.
“Next year I’ll get seven kids coming in is what I’m hearing,” Diceanu pointed out. “I know they have all played some. I’m hoping we can bounce back here the next couple of years and be back at full strength. We have two good classes coming in next year and the year after that. It doesn’t always translate to wins but it’s something to look forward to.”
PHOTO CAPTION: FM Captain, Bryce Robison battles for control in tournament match with Bethel. (Gaylen Blosser photo)