Tigers can’t keep up against Wetumpka

Caleb Turrentine / The Tribune Tallassee’s Fernando Marcos attempts to tackle the ball from Wetumpka’s Luke Tessier during Thursday’s game.

The Wetumpka boys soccer team grabbed its third consecutive win with a 4-1 victory at Tallassee on Thursday night. The Indians moved to 6-2-3 on the year and take some momentum into a long break before the season’s final stretch.

Anthony Auen scored his second goal of the year to go along with an assist to lead Wetumpka to the win. Caio Pelogia, Ethan Blecher and Brennan Worrell each added a goal, allowing the Indians to run away from a struggling Tallassee squad.

“The biggest thing I look for is to not play down to the level of the competition,” Wetumpka coach Desmond Knight said. “We have to still play our game. This is a game where we can develop and get some of those guys in who don’t get a lot of time.”

Wetumpka was dominant to start the match but could not get a shot on target until the ninth minute. After a shot from Luke Tessier was saved, the Indians won a corner and Pelogia found the breakthrough.

Auen swung in a low corner to the front post, allowing Pelogia to connect with the ball and put it through the traffic into the bottom left corner.

“Anthony has been one of those guys we want to develop,” Knight said. “He’s an underclassman that we’ve brought up but he’s got a great right foot. We’re still trying to get him more spacial awareness but when the ball is on his foot, there’s not many on our team that has the leg he has.”

Less than three minutes later, Wetumpka doubled its lead with a goal from Blecher. He cut inside from the left wing before putting his shot into the bottom left corner, easily beating the Tallassee keeper.

The Tigers (0-0-7) did not go away though, cutting into their deficit just 23 seconds later. Tallassee quickly moved forward from the kickoff and Ruben Castaneda found the back of the net.

Wetumpka continued to control the game and had several chances to extend its lead but the score remained 2-1 at the break. It did not take long for the Indians to extend their lead once the second half began.

Worrell had a shot from outside the box go through the goalie’s arms and into the back of the net to restore Wetumpka’s two-goal lead in the 48th minute. Tallassee came back with another response but goalkeeper Zach Grindle was up for the challenge.

Tallassee had its first major chance in the 53rd minute, sending a counter attack down the right flank. Fernando Marcos got a shot off but Grindle got his finger tips to the ball, pushing it over the goal and behind for a corner.

“It’s phenomenal for us to be able to rely on him,” Knight said of Grindle. “I’ve seen a laser focus from him at keeper. He was one of those guys coming in that I had high expectations for and he’s not just meeting them, he’s exceeding them.”

The Tigers got on the end of the ensuing corner but the header was high and wide to relieve some of the pressure. However, the Tigers would get another chance in the 66th minute after Castaneda drew a foul 24 yards from the goal.

Wetumpka set up a five-man wall but Castaneda drove the free kick under the wall and heading into the bottom right corner. With his line of sight limited, Grindle reacted in time to push the ball away at full stretch.

Wetumpka finally put the game away in the 71st minute when Auen struck again after a scramble inside the box. Worrell whipped in a free kick but Tallassee could not get the ball clear, setting up Auen to knock the ball into the roof of the net for the final goal of the game.

“If it’s at his foot, we’ve encouraged him to shoot,” Knight said. “He got his first goal against Eclectic earlier this week and that gave him some more confidence. We’re proud of him but we’re not really surprised by it.”

Wetumpka will have two weeks off before returning to the pitch. The Indians will play Carver-Montgomery on April 8 before it hosts Stanhope in a section rivalry on April 13.

Tallassee will be back in action on Monday night when it hosts Prattville Christian. The Tigers continue to look for their first win of the season but have now scored in four consecutive games for the first time this year.