Rock Bridge tops Jeff City for title.
By Nick Snow Columbia Daily Tribune
Thursday, November 4, 2010
SEDALIA — After losing to Jefferson City on penalty kicks earlier in the year, the Rock Bridge soccer team committed itself to working harder on penalty kicks in practice.
All that hard work paid off in a big way. Rock Bridge went 6 for 6 in penalty kicks, capped off by sophomore Ryan Stanowski’s laser into the back of the net that sealed a 6-5 PK victory over Jefferson City in the Class 3 District 9 championship game, which was scoreless after overtime. The victory gives the Bruins their first district title since 2004.
“It’s always nice to avenge one of your season losses,” Rock Bridge Coach Kyle Austin said. “Words cannot describe how happy I am for these kids. This was all for them. They deserved this victory. They’re all unbelievable kids, not only on the soccer field, but also in the community and in the classroom. To get this kind of reward is just awesome.
“These kids remembered how it felt to lose after being the top seed last year, and they just weren’t going to let it happen again. They fought for 110 minutes and built off their experiences from last season.”
Rock Bridge (22-5) controlled the ball for most of the match, nearly scoring 10 minutes into the first half. But Tyler Griggs’ goal was waved off after the officials ruled that Jefferson City goalkeeper C.J. Loehner had possession. Although the Bruins had the wind at their back for the first half, the Jays suffocated them on defense to keep the game scoreless.
Things got a little more chippy in the second half as Rock Bridge picked up a pair of yellow cards and Jefferson City received one of its own. The Jays controlled the ball a little more in the second half, but Rock Bridge goalkeeper Brady Wulff and the defense kept Jefferson City scoreless.
Wulff came up with a huge stop against Nicholas Anglen in the second overtime to keep hope alive for the Bruins. Loehner matched Wulff by hauling in a hard shot from Ryan Schmidt with just more than five minutes remaining in the second overtime.
In the first set of penalty kicks, both teams hit all five shots, as Jonathan Gunter, Matt Kelly, Trevor Davis, Ryan Taylor and Danny Baird all scored for the Bruins, while Anglen, Tanner Bone, Tyler Luebbert, Dylan Braunder and Claude Ruboneka scored for Jefferson City.
Jefferson City freshman Aaron Crane’s shot sailed high, putting the pressure on Stanowski. With a deep breath, Stanowski uncorked a shot toward the left side of the net for the game-winner.
“We set the tone by having a 12:01 a.m. practice that first day, so we have been really determined to win a district championship all season,” said Wulff, who is one of the Rock Bridge captains. “It feels good.”
Rock Bridge will face another familiar opponent, Rolla, in a Class 3 sectional Tuesday in Rolla. The Bruins won the regular-season meeting 1-0.
“We’re hoping to use this as a great learning experience,” Austin said. “This is a young group that bonded quickly. It’s going to be tough to top 22 wins, but we’re not done yet. We’re still adding to that total. By the time the season ends, I’d like to be around 25 or 26 wins.”