Since then? Blowouts, which explains why the Falcons were momentarily flustered when Lisbon pulled even late in the first half Tuesday afternoon.
“We had that good, quick start, and then we got flat for a little bit,” Mountain Valley coach J.T. Taylor said. “I think we kind of got complacent with that goal. They’re in a situation where they’re right on the edge of the playoffs, so we couldn’t let down lightly.”
All that nervous tension lasted less than two minutes. Tucker Phelps took advantage of a giveaway in Lisbon’s defensive zone to score the go-ahead goal, and the Falcons sped away in the second half to a 4-1 MVC and Class C West victory.
Mountain Valley (12-0-1), which has quadrupled its 2013 win total, took another step toward the No. 2 seed in the regional playoffs. Lisbon (7-5-1) appears locked in, as well, but was hoping to take a step up from the 11th and final rung of the tournament ladder.
Felix Promm scored to give the Falcons the lead in the second minute of the game before Ryley Austin knotted it. Tucker Rowland and Curtis Steele piggybacked Phelps’ strike with second-half tallies to put it away.
“We had a stretch of about five games where we didn’t play really great teams, so I was a little nervous we might come out a little flat after a four-day weekend,” Taylor said. “The second half we kind of put it together.”
Nate Bergeron made 16 saves for Lisbon, which was outshot 28-10. It was Senior Day for the Greyhounds, who honored lone upperclassman Johnny Yim at halftime.
“We’re still learning. We’re still young,” Lisbon coach Dan Sylvester said. “We still do some good things. We just have to have more confidence in our abilities. There’s been a lot of times we’ve shown it and a lot of times where we haven’t. We didn’t show it today.”
Promm put the Falcons in command at the 100-second mark.
He used footwork to control the ball in a man-to-man sequence all the way to the end line, just shy of the right corner. The final touch gave the German exchange student just enough daylight to shoot, and shoot he did, burying a blast past Bergeron from a jaw-dropping angle.
“The main thing we work on is playing the ball wide, most importantly, and then trying to cross balls in the box,” Taylor said. “Sometimes we try to get too cute working through the middle. That’s not going to work when we get in against the better teams. They’ll shut that down.”
Lisbon continued its recent success with set plays to notch the equalizer. The Greyhounds earned an indirect kick after Rasmus Soegaard stepped in front of Nick Huston and obstructed his lane to the goal.
Nick Lerette made the initial touch to Fournier, who fired a low line drive toward the crowd in front of the net. Austin one-timed it home.
“We kind of hoped scoring off that set piece, that’s kind of been our thing, would motivate us a little bit more. But they snuck another one in there,” Sylvester said. “Our communication just broke us down big time. We didn’t communicate very well, and our not marking very well led to a lot of things.”
Phelps restored Mountain Valley’s lead when he intercepted a pass, took it the other way and unleashed a worm-burner that rolled just inside the far post.
Rowland made it 3-1 with 29:51 remaining in the game, following his own shot after Bergeron knocked down the initial bid.
Lisbon had multiple chances to creep back in it. Steele and Gustav Gavenas provided stellar defense to get the Falcons out of danger on a corner kick.
Goalie Dakota Jacques made a huge save to stifle another corner. Two other times, Bradley Boulet narrowly missed wide left with relatively uncontested tries.
“The good thing about these guys is they know how to finish games,” Taylor said. “You don’t want to let teams back into games. Especially a game like today, with these guys fighting so hard, if they were to make it 3-2, we would have been in a dogfight.”
Promm drew the line of the exclamation point with a perfectly placed corner kick. Steele dotted it by soaring above Rowland to head it in for his sixth goal in the past four games.
Gavenas, who left the game briefly with a severe bloody nose, played a pivotal role after taking over at sweeper when Soegaard departed with an ankle injury early in the second half. Soegaard had been filling in for co-captain Chris Bourret, who was lost for the season to a broken collarbone.
“We fended them off,” Taylor said. “They had a few good attacks, but we held it together, and we really put the nail in the coffin on that corner kick. That was a nice finish.”
Mountain Valley bids for an undefeated regular season Friday at Oak Hill. Lisbon gets one more chance to bag crucial Heal Points the same day at St. Dom’s.
“Communication is what’s breaking down, When you don’t communicate, everything else falls apart. We hope we learn from it and just keep plugging and get ready for playoffs,” Sylvester said. “We’ll be on the road somewhere. Our mentality is going to be whoever we play, roll the ball out and we’ll be ready to play. We want to go out and give anybody that’s in front of us a game.”