MUNSTER | Merrillville's defense may have been ready and up to the task, but it was tough to slow down an offensive attack that was constantly in the Pirates' face.
The Times No. 4 Mustangs recorded 20 shots on Merrillville, forcing goalkeeper Bradley Brack to make 13 saves, as Munster took a 2-0 win over the Pirates.
"Merrillville came out to play very, very hard," Munster coach Jim Prasopoulos said. "They made us work for this. There's no doubt about it. I knew coach (Brian) Past would have them prepared."
Merrillville was right in the mix for the first 60 minutes. A scoreless affair turned into the Mustangs' favor when Santiago Vicente dribbled around Brack and Merrillville's defense, finding the net to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead 19 minutes into the game.
For the next 40 minutes, Munster (6-1-1) continued the attack, with the Pirates (2-8) getting a few opportunities here and there to get on the board. It wasn't until the 20:33 mark of the second half that a huge defensive mistake proved costly for the Pirates. A foul in the box resulted in a penalty kick from Demitri Georgalas, which bounced off the crossbar and into the goal.
"I think the first half, we didn't test them too well," Prasopoulos said. "I expect nothing but a great effort from Merrillville all the time. I told my kids to respect them and realize whatever team you play, it doesn't matter. Come out and play hard."
Past was impressed with his goalkeeper and defense, and has seen marked improvement in his team as the season has went along.
"A lot of people don't know that Bradley Brack is only a sophomore," Past said. "I told him that if he continues to play like that, we may surprise a few people here the rest of the season."