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JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — In the final 30 seconds of its Winter Classic opener against Fredericksburg on Jan. 10, the Marble Falls High School boys soccer team had two chances to score goals.

The Mustangs’ first shot hit the cross bar, while on the second attempt, the Billies’ goalie grabbed the ball in the air off a corner kick.

The result was a 0-0 tie.

Those were two of at least 10 shots that simply wouldn’t go in the net during the game.

The problem, according to new Marble Falls head coach Rick Hoover, was ball control. He saw too many plays where the ball was kicked high with the aim of getting it quickly down field in the hopes of outrunning the defense to score.

“We want to keep the ball on the ground and use combination passes up the field,” he said. “We can either kick it 40 yards or make four passes to get it there. We want to keep the ball under control.”

Defensively, Hoover praised his players for not giving up more than two shots.

“We have to focus on the style of play I want, which is possession,” he said. “The finishing will come. I’m asking them to play something different. They’re a little bit unsure.”

Marble Falls’ next tournament match is against San Antonio Shoemaker at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at Mustang Stadium, 2101 Mustang Drive.

jfierro@thepicayune.com