URBANA — James Barkley knew the Urbana boys’ soccer program’s late-September slate, if nothing else, would leave the Tigers battle-tested.
Urbana vs. Mahomet-Seymour in a prep boys soccer match at Urbana High School on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019.
Visits to nationally-ranked Peoria Notre Dame and News-Gazette No. 1 Champaign Central resulted in two defeats by a combined 11-2 margin.
And so, Urbana had to make the most of its following two matchups, with Centennial and Mahomet-Seymour.
Four days after shutting out their Big 12 Conference rival, the Tigers ended the Bulldogs’ win streak at eight matches via a 4-1 decision Monday night.
“It’s really important for us to understand what it is we’re capable of,” Barkley said. “In some ways ... (Monday) was a good day to kind of get away with some miscues so we know what we have to work on.”
Urbana (8-3) boasted a 4-0 advantage, thanks to two-goal nights from Miguel Lemus and William Arana, before M-S (11-3-1) found the back of the net on an Eli Warren conversion.
Sophomore netminder Charles Mandra thrived as well, mostly quieting a Bulldog offense that averaged 4.5 goals per contest entering the bout.
“He’s such a quick learner,” Barkley said. “If I give him some technical instruction, he pretty much has it down within a couple days. ... I’m looking forward to his future.”
With league action now bearing down on the Tigers — five of their final six regular-season tilts come with a Big 12 label — Barkley found this outcome integral.
“We just really wanted to execute our game plan, which includes moving the ball,” he said. “We managed to do that pretty effectively.”