Soccer coach Matt Jackson wanted his high school players to face a stiff test heading into a tournament this weekend in Knoxville.
So Jackson and his team, the Middle Tennessee Soccer Club, faced an all-star group of former Pioneer soccer players Monday night at Pistole Park.
In a game billed as the old guys versus the young guys, the old guys showed they still have spunk as they beat the high school players, 5-2.
Coach Jackson said the game was all about putting his players against the best competition he could find and the former Pioneers didn’t disappoint. Robert Garibaldi scored twice, while Dabe Banerjee, Adam Webb and Cody Cowans all scored once to carry the team to victory.
The Middle Tennessee Soccer Club, composed of players 18 and under, got on the board first when Eddie Hernandez gained control of a rebound in front of the net and kicked a shot past keeper Zach Cowans. It was one of the few lapses for Cowans, who deflected an array of close-range shots and was aggressive coming out of the net all game.
The Pioneer alumni answered with goals from Webb and Garibaldi to take a 2-1 lead at the half.
The prevailing logic was the second half would favor the high school players because the older guys would wear down as the game progressed. But that wasn’t the case. The high school players seemed to tire, while the former Pioneers found their groove.
Eddie Hernandez tied the game early in the second half with his second goal. His first shot was blocked by a diving Cowans, but Hernandez was able to jump over the keeper while he was on the ground, track down the loose ball, and score, 2-2.
That would be the last hurrah for Middle Tennessee Soccer Club.
Dabe Banerjee put the Pioneer alumni up for good when he rocketed in a shot from about 25 yards out that found the upper corner of the goal, 3-2.
That was followed by a give-and-go play that ended when Garibaldi powered in his second goal, 4-2.
Cody Cowans put the finishing touches on the scoring when he made a free kick from just outside the box, 5-2.
The Middle Tennessee Soccer Club has a tournament this Saturday and Sunday in Knoxville.