By Nick Snow
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Coach Kyle Austin said his Rock Bridge boys soccer team didn’t play its best.
That’s a little hard to believe, considering the Bruins (17-4) had just beaten Hickman 4-0 on Sells Field to sweep the regular-season series.
“It feels good to beat them,” Rock Bridge midfielder Ty Griggs said. “I play with a lot of those guys on a club team, so this gives me a chance to represent my school. There’s always a little bit of a rivalry, but that’s what makes it fun. We enjoy beating Hickman.”
Hickman (15-5-1) flexed its muscle early, attacking with a fury over the first 10 minutes. But the Bruins weathered the storm with a couple of great saves by Brady Wulff.
“Brady is our senior captain for a reason,” Austin said. “Not only is he very vocal, he leads by his play. Any time we have him back there, we know its going to take the other team’s best effort to win. He’s playing at another level, and I know assistant coach Alex Nichols — who works with him in practice — has been very impressed with the way he has played.”
After getting stuffed by Hickman goalkeeper Chuck Wilson earlier in the half, Matt Kelly got Rock Bridge started by blasting a free kick into the upper right corner.
The Kewpies had a couple of chances late — including a shot through the box by Andy Atkins — but with 8 seconds left, Eli Sherman found Kelly for a breakaway to give Rock Bridge a 2-0 halftime lead.
“That was a huge goal at the time,” Austin said. “It was a great job by Eli, and it allowed Matt to slide into position. That goal really changed the game. We were able to take that and build on that momentum at halftime.”
Wilson couldn’t haul in a bouncer in traffic with 33:38 left in the game. From there, Rock Bridge’s Ryan Taylor was in the right place at the right time, knocking the ball into the net on the rebound.
“We’ve been flopping back and forth between Spencer Mills and Chuck all year,” Hickman Coach Adam Taylor said. “Tonight, it was Chuck’s turn. He’s a senior, so I wanted to give him one more chance to beat Rock Bridge.”
The Bruins tacked on one more with 15 minutes left. With several defenders on him, Griggs took a shot while falling down. Somehow, the ball squirted through the defense and into the net.
“Eli Sherman worked hard to get the ball to Trevor Davis,” Griggs said. “Trevor gave me a great pass, and I just took a shot and hoped for the best. We know that Hickman is going to come back hard if we see them in districts. We just have to keep looking forward.”
Rock Bridge will host Waynesville tomorrow, while Hickman will travel to Lincoln Prep tomorrow.
“We’ve got to go back to work,” Taylor said. “We’ve got about a week and a half before districts start. We really didn’t play that bad. Hopefully, this will make us more intense for the rest of the season. We know that now is the time to push ourselves.”