Coming off an emotional 2-1 loss to Bay Counties League rival Marin Academy, University High School didn't show any ill effects of that defeat Tuesday afternoon at Crocker Amazon.
Despite the fog and chilly conditions, the Red Devils cruised to a 4-0 nonleague victory over College Prep of Oakland.
Sophomore Mattie Mrlik continued to assert himself in his first season playing varsity soccer, scoring two first-half goals and assisting on another. Mrlik has now scored in six of the past seven games University has played.
“He's been great and he's really proven to be one of our best attacking guys. He's smart with the ball, can shoot with both feet, he's good in the air with his head,” University coach Deejae Johnson said. “It's nice to see him take advantage of his opportunity. He's really earned his spot.”
University (14-3-4) struck early, when Alex Warren sent a beautiful volley to Mrlik who finished a play with an easy goal from five yards out, giving University a 1-0 lead.
In the 22nd minute, Mrlik set up senior Josiah Corbus, who sent a missile from 30 yards out into the upper-left corner of the goal to give the Red Devils a 2-0 lead.
Then, after a scramble in front of the College Prep goal, Mrlik found himself with the ball and easily chipped in his second goal of the game.
The sophomore, who is the brother of former St. Ignatius star Johnny Mrlik (now at Vassar College), admitted he's now feeling more confident in his ability, but was more excited about University's solid season thus far.
“It's exciting, but our team is playing really well,” Mrlik said. “We're starting to play together and attacking really well, and [we're] scoring some goals.”
In a precursor to this afternoon's nonleague showdown against Mission High School, University controlled the action throughout, outshooting College Prep 24-2. However, Johnson pointed out that his team will need to tighten up against Mission.
“We've got our eyes on that game and we'll have to be careful with the way we execute,” Johnson said. “We need to be a little bit cleaner in front of goal tomorrow. I thought we let a lot of chances slip away today, but that's the nature of this game.”
The lone bright spot for College Prep (4-8-1) was goalie Huma Dudachangu, who kept University from blowing it open with some highlight-reel type saves. His finest save came in the 67th minute, when he used every inch of his hands to block University senior Wyatt Kim's free kick from 15 yards out.
College Prep coach Godwin Odiye was happy afterward with his team's competitiveness in the second half, but acknowledged that his team was on the defensive too much in this contest.
“University handled the ball really well, passing from left to right,” Odiye said. “Offensively, we just couldn't control the ball.”