The St. Peter Saints plan to travel to Worthington on Friday for a scheduled 7 p.m. regular season contest with the WHS boys varsity soccer outfit. It will be the first time ever that Trojan Field will host an athletic event on home turf.
“I asked if we could practice on it this week so we have a couple of chances to get ready,” Trojans head coach Juan Flores said on Monday.
Until this fall, the only synthetic turf soccer fields in the Big South Conference have been in New Ulm and Marshall. The new Trojan Field will mark a major transformation for soccer, football and track and field when it’s fully complete.
“The kids are very excited to play,” said Flores.
Friday’s game will also stage a stern test for both squads. St. Peter owns a 3-0-2 record and the Trojans are 4-0. While the Saints’ games have all been close (a 3-1 win over Fairmont was the only game decided by more than a goal), the Trojans have outscored their opponents by a combined 23-2 margin.
Even so, in at least two games, Worthington has struggled through sluggish first halves. Flores maintains that the team still hasn’t played a full 80 minutes.
“We kind of slow down in other periods, and that’s when the other team takes advantage,” he said.
He describes St. Peter as a team that plays solid defense and passes well. The Saints are also a tall team, and the WHS coach hopes to counter that by playing quick and low to the ground.
“I think every team we face is going to be tough,” Flores added. “I think St. Peter is going to be no exception.”
Speed is Worthington’s game. Speed and footwork. Local fans hope that a turf field, as opposed to grass, will enhance the team’s potential.
“I think our idea is for our tempo to be faster on turf, as in moving the fall faster. Since I’ve been coach I’ve learned that it takes them a couple of games to get used to that turf. But once we get going, we’ll be fine,” Flores said.
Worthington, of course, has played on turf fields before this. But having future home games on turf requires a new mindset — one that focuses on making quicker decisions since opportunities tend to come and go more quickly on a faster surface.
“I think it’s a big advantage (for us),” Flores said. “What we’re trying to do this year is play faster, and get up and down the field faster, and get more shots on goal.”
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