Columbia College soccer team wins despite missed opportunities

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 | 8:57 p.m. CDT
Columbia College midfielder Liam Cain collides with Bellevue University defender Nathan Wetton as they go after the ball Tuesday at R. Marvin Owens Soccer Stadium in Columbia. The Cougars defeated Bellevue University 2-0.

COLUMBIA — When Marko Paunovic drilled the right goal post with the first shot of the Columbia College soccer team's game Tuesday against Bellevue, the Cougars forward had to fight off negative thoughts.

Four minutes later, Paunovic missed another shot, just wide right of the goal.

"(I was thinking) that I need to continue to go to free space and take many shots," Paunovic said.

He did just that. One minute after his second miss, the freshman from Belgrade, Serbia scored on a breakaway. The Cougars won the game 2-0, but missed several opportunities to expand the lead. Columbia College coach John Klein said it should have been 6-0.

"You've got to finish a team off like that," Klein said. "You know, just to keep them in it 1-0 at half like that after there were probably six breakaways."

Paunovic missed some easy shots in this game, converting on only one of his five shots. He has three goals in the past two games after scoring only twice in the first eight games of the season. But even though he has increased his production, Paunovic said he can do better.

Teammate Yudai Yamaguchi said Paunovic might be thinking too much. Yamaguchi can relate to Paunovic's situation because he used to play forward for the Cougars.

"I wouldn't say that's his mistake, that happens, there (are) many good strikers but they miss some easy (shots) too," Yamaguchi said.

Klein said he is not worried about the team's ability to score, but he is still looking for someone on the team to take a true scorer's mentality.

"They need to be a little bit hungrier, maybe a little more selfish, and then really value those opportunities when they get them in the box," Klein said.

All Paunovic can do is keep shooting.

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