The Indians, showcasing an untried starting 11, defeated Morristown West 4-1 on Tuesday night at Indian Highland Park. Senior David Geno netted twice and added an assist in a potential Region 1-AAA tournament preview.
Senior Jack Dell (hamstring) and Greg Vogel, a junior defender who missed training Monday, were absent for D-B (15-0-1). It mattered little. The underclassmen filling in did more than enough to warrant a place in the side.
“We were looking forward to changing some things and looking at some options,” Tribe first-year coach Chris Woods said. “We always want to know what we have.
“We started three seniors, two juniors and the rest were underclassmen. The defense was comprised of a junior, two freshmen and a sophomore. And we were so calm, cool and composed — just what we were looking for.
“Super proud of the young’ns.”
Geno opened the scoring after 11 minutes. A quickly taken throw-in caught West napping in its own defensive third; Geno, meanwhile, stood unmarked in the box. He received the throw from Chase Givens, took a touch and dispatched. His second of the night came six minutes later.
Sophomore Cory Combs, inserted into the midfield when Daniel Murphy was moved to forward, provided an excellent flick-on for Geno to power past the Trojans’ goalkeeper. Combs and freshman Warren Austin proved to be an influential pairing in the middle of the park for much of the evening.
“(Cory) is always in the office wanting to know what he can improve on,” Woods said. “We had a spot that was open today, and assistant coach (Blake) Rutherford came to me with his name. What a great call. Cory played great.”
West imposed itself at the start of the second half — Victor Ramos forging himself a couple excellent chances in the opening 10 minutes — but the Indians weathered the pressure. Geno missed a marvelous chance to extend the lead in the 55th, flashing an effort wide of the far post from 10 yards.
He atoned for the letdown just six minutes later, setting up Murphy for a tap-in at the back post to cap what was a brilliant counter-attacking goal. Geno now has 25 goals and seven assists this term.
Geno, who signed with East Tennessee State prior to the season, is also back to playing with a smile on his face following a couple of frustrating weeks.
“I’ve been a little frustrated, but the team is doing well. That’s what counts,” he said. “Today, I just felt good and we played well as a team. It was fun. Team chemistry is great; it’s probably our best characteristic.”
“This is the first season where it all isn’t riding on David,” Woods said. “I think he is still trying to figure out where he fits into this, too. He’s coming along great. He’s a stud no matter how you look at it.”
Still figuring it out? Look out postseason.