COLUMBIA - Columbia College soccer coach John Klein wanted junior Dylan Barduzzi and sophomore Yudai Yamaguchi to step up offensively for the Cougars soccer team after Friday night's 3-2 loss against Illinois Institute of Technology. The Cougars' leading scorers from last season responded against Fort Lewis on Sunday with each scoring a goal in the 2-0 shutout victory.
"They are attacking players," Klein said. "They have attacking mentalities and they have attacking skills. Their job is to score goals and put the defense on its heels."
Surprisingly, Klein initially used a defensive strategy against the Skyhawks, focusing on defensive organization rather than outright offense in the first half. In this strategy, the usual starters Barduzzi and Yamaguchi began the game on the bench.
"I wanted to put some guys in who would just work their tails off, and let Yudai and Dylan see what was going on, and then let them come in 15 to 20 minutes in and give us a burst of energy," Klein said.
Barduzzi said Klein told him before he got in the game to be aggressive and dribble when he had the ball.
"He said, 'if you have the ball, go forward and try to dribble the guy and get into the box,'" Barduzzi said.
Klein's advice did pay off. Most of Columbia College's scoring opportunities came from fouls drawn by Barduzzi's dribbling, including the Cougars' two goals.
Yamaguchi scored the first one with a header when Barduzzi took a free kick in the middle of the first half.
Yamaguchi said he envisioned scoring before even stepping on the field and used a YouTube soccer video as inspiration.
"I was thinking about it to get a goal," he said. "I was imagining it."
Barduzzi got his goal in the second half. After stealing the ball, a Fort Lewis defender fouled him hard. Barduzzi then knocked in the penalty kick.
Barduzzi said the foul did not affect him when he took the penalty kick.
"You got to keep calm because if you stress out, things are not going to work," he said. "You got to be focused on the game."
Prior to Sunday, junior forward John Hutchison was the only Cougar who found the back of the net for the Cougars on the season.