Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rock Bridge soccer impressive on senior night

By Andrew Wagaman

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

For Rock Bridge boys soccer Coach Kyle Austin, this season’s senior night was particularly meaningful. With 12 members, the class of 2010 is not only the largest group in Austin’s four-year tenure, it is also the class with which he took over.

Rock Bridge 2, Holt 0

“There’s so much that is special about seeing my first class through that it’s hard to put into words,” he said.

Seniors Robbie Baird and Rhys McCracken expressed it through action last night. Baird set up the game-winning goal with 12 minutes to go and McCracken put the game away two minutes later in a 2-0 victory over Holt.

“It’s definitely how I wanted to go out,” Baird said. Holt “is a good team, so I think we played well.”

With the game still scoreless in the 68th minute , the wing faked out a Holt defender and crossed the ball to sophomore Matt Kelly, who tapped it in for the lead. Baird had to improvise to execute the cross.

“I probably messed up not going through with my run,” he said. “But I knew the guy was going to try to push me out, so I faked like I was going to go inside and then went back outside. I just laid it across, and Matt was there.”

Austin recognized the sequence between Baird and Kelly, the only sophomore on the varsity team, as a celebration of the now and of the future.

Kelly “is very promising and has worked his butt off to get where he is,” he said. “He has done everything the coaching staff has asked of him, and he’s willing to take the work the seniors load on him, like carrying balls to the bus. It paid dividends for us tonight.”

The Indians (10-2) seemed to run out of energy after Kelly’s goal. McCracken capitalized on a breakaway starting near midfield. The insurance goal made up for one that was called back on an offsides call in the first half.

Both teams had chances to score in the first half. Holt took three free kicks just outside the box, while the Bruins were stifled by a couple of excellent saves at the hands of goalie Brad Fahs.

The Rock Bridge wings, though, clearly outplayed the Indians after halftime, harassing Fahs and the backs until they finally broke.

“It was one of those things where if you keep pushing, you’ll find the back of the net,” Austin said. “We spaced it out in the second half and moved the ball around well, and that’s how we scored our first goal.”

The Bruins (7-5) won their fifth in the last six games. They take on Helias (7-0-1) tonight.

“We are starting to change our own luck — that’s sort of the motto we have adopted,” Austin said. “Their work ethic has been amazing the last few weeks, and it’s paying dividends on the field.”

This article was published on page B3 of the Tuesday, October 6, 2009 edition of The Columbia Daily Tribune.