The Ottawa High School boys soccer team is playing at a different level to begin the 2020 season.
The Cyclones finished their first week of action, splitting home matches. On Tuesday, Ottawa defeated Hayden, 1-0, and on Thursday fell 4-2 to Spring Hill.
"We look like a different program," OHS soccer coach Roland Jaworski said. "We have gotten bigger. Almost all of my kids have been working because they came out in the summer. Every training session we have had, they have been working really hard and it showed. Their pace has gotten better. Their fitness and touch has gotten a lot better. It has been a real positive beginning."
Jaworski said the new turf on the soccer field has been wonderful to play on.
"The new field has been a blessing for us to get to play on," he said. "The more we play on it the better we get on it. We get used to the ball rolling fast and true."
The coach saw his team play a different brand of soccer than a year ago when Ottawa struggled.
"We have a lot of grit," Jaworski said. "In the first game, we scored in the first half and they gritted it out and played their hearts out to get that win. The same thing happened today. We just had a couple of mistakes. We played really hard. It has been real positive."
Spring Hill made Ottawa work. Jaworski said the Broncos do a good job of possessing the ball and have talented midfielders and forwards.
"They have real brisk and solid passes on the ground," Jaworski said. "We had a hard time keeping up with that pace. Because they did have such strong midfielders and forwards, our defense was under a lot of pressure. We were working on keeping it out of the back to minimize damage. I told them to clear the ball out. You hope to catch them on a break away. It worked out once. Hopefully, we can start possessing a little better. We are going to work on that before our next game."
Ottawa fell behind 2-0 but battled back to tie the match at 2-2 with about 23 minutes remaining.
Junior Reese Fogle got Ottawa on the board with a rifle shot. Senior Matthew Powell tied it up with a header.
Ottawa plays 6 p.m. Thursday at home against Ward in a varsity-only match. It will be Senior Night.