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Berries bring Giants' season to its end

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GIANTS: Marion's Kyle Coryea looks for room to shoot in the second half of the Giants' 5-2 loss to Logansport in Class 3A Sectional 5 in Dick Lootens Stadium Monday night.
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GIANTS: Marion's JD Fagan and Kyle Guy (17) celebrate Fagan's goal late in the first half that tied the Giants, 2-2, with Logansport. The Berries scored three goals in the second half to earn a 5-2win in the opening round of the Class 3A Marion Sectional Monday night in Dick Lootens Stadium.

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

Swiftly and suddenly the tide changed, as is the nature of soccer sometimes, and it spelled doom for Marion's boys Monday night in their Class 3A Sectional 21 opener in Dick Lootens Stadium.

The match between the host Giants and Logansport had been hotly contested and evenly played through the its first 45 minutes, however, Logansport’s junior forward Juan Perez scored a pair of goals just 53 seconds apart to turn the tide. Perez' first goal broke a 2-2 tie with 34:34 remaining, and Logansport rode that wave of momentum to a 5-2 victory ending the Giants’ season.

Perez, who now ranks 12th in the state with 32 goals for the season, barely saw the pitch when the Giants and Berries met in the consolation game of the North Central Conference tournament in Kokomo on Sept. 28. Marion won that match, 2-0, but faced a much different Logansport side on Monday.

“I couldn’t play my starters in that NCC match because we used up all our energy against Arsenal Tech,” said Berries coach Michael Turner, who saw his team give up a 4-2 lead to Tech late in its NCC semifinal before falling to the eventual champs, 5-4 in overtime on the hot Saturday in Central Indiana. “Two of my guys weren’t even there. Today we were fresh and I’ll be honest, (Marion) only saw six minutes of Juan Perez, that’s all he played. He was cramping so bad he couldn’t play. “

The Giants did well in marking Perez throughout the first half, but he showed his speed and skill early in the second. Perez ran onto a through ball played by Giovanni Avila just past midfield and raced in for a one-on-one with Marion goalie Malik Smith. His shot slid past Smith and into the net to give Logansport a 3-2 lead.

“They were pressing us really well and we got one fortunate ball,” Turner said. “(Perez) got one step on the guy and that’s all he needs. He gets that one step on you he’s going to finish. They didn’t get to see that in the NCC.”

Perez scored three goals in the Berries’ loss to Arsenal Tech and his second goal against the Giants proved to be a dagger. Perez was fouled near the top of the 18-yard box and drew a penalty kick, which he converted with 33:41 to play putting Logansport on top, 4-2.

“Honestly, we won that game 2-0 but it should have been like 5 or 6-0,” said Marion coach Jorge Berry recalling the Giants’ first match against the Berries. “Tonight we created some opportunities and scored but, my god they scored some nice goals.

“We fought back and fought back and that PK, it stabbed us,” he added. “Hats off to Mike (Turner), he’s a good guy and he gets his kids working hard. Juan, he can hit balls left and right. He’s solid, just a solid player.”

The Giants controlled play for most of the opening 20 minutes, nearly taking the first lead just more than eight minutes in when JD Fagan’s shot ricocheted off the post. Joseph Powell sent a free kick in on Logan’s goal about five minutes later but was swept up by Berries’ keeper Moo Htoo.

Logansport’s first scoring opportunity netted the game’s first goal off the foot of Samuel Dexter with 24:31 to play before halftime.

The equalizer for the Giants came just more than six minutes later and was a thing of beauty. Kevin Guy maneuvered around a defender near the corner of the pitch and sent a cross into a streaking Kyle Coryea who sent a powerful one-touch shot into the net with 17:58 remaining in the first half.

Avila quickly put Logansport back on top with a blast from outside the 18 with 17:01 showing.

Marion’s second equalizer of the half came with 2:18 to play after Fagan knocked down a low trajectory goal kick with his right foot about 40 yards in front of Logansport’s goal. He quickly controlled the ball, split a pair of Logan defenders at the top of the box and sent a low left-footed shot past Htoo to square the match at 2-2, which is where the half ended.

After Perez put Logansport on top with his two goals early in the second half, Pedro Ferreira Silveria finished the scoring when knocked in free kick with 18:39 left to play.

“We started off a little sluggish but the second half we were a little bit more alive. We played the ball quicker and better to feet and we got that one ball we needed,” Turner said. “Two goals in a minute, it’s very hard to get back, especially in the second half. If its in the first half you can make adjustments at halftime and get back in the game.”

Logansport (10-6-1) will face Lafayette Jeff on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in a sectional semifinal. The Bronchos beat Kokomo, 2-0 in overtime in Monday’s first match.

Tears were plentiful on Marion’s bench following the loss that finished the Giants’ season at 9-8. It was the final match in the high school career’s of 14 Marion seniors.

“For how hard they worked, it just made it fun,” Berry said of his team during the season. “We did things off the field, went to movies and had car washes, it just felt really really good. You see a group of kids like this, they’re good soccer players but they’re better young men.”