Practice pays off, leads to Trinity victory

Before practices, Trinity Lutheran sophomore Andrew Emily takes 30 to 40 freekicks on the Cougars’ soccer pitch.

On Tuesday, all that practice paid off as Emily did his best Christiano Ronaldo impression by scoring two goals off free kicks to push his team past Southwestern (Shelbyville) 2-1.

With 31:11 remaining in the first half, Emily booted one over the Spartans’ Keaton Nolley from 35 yards to give the Cougars a 1-0 advantage.

The Cougars had a couple of opportunities to score in the box off cornerkicks before the half, but failed to convert.

Following intermission, Cougars senior Luke Onken was fouled from 20 yards in the center of the field.

Emily then bounced a shot off the top of the crossbar towards the center of the goal which would roll backwards to put the Cougars up 2-0 with 22:56 left in the game.

“The goals were absolutely amazing,” Cougars coach Brandan Tabeling said. “To have a sophomore who isn’t afraid to step up in situations like that is great to have. He is a hardworking kid who usually plays defense and doesn’t get a lot of glory. We had 100 percent confidence in him when he went up there.”

The Spartans answered at 15:36 when Logan Drake blasted a shot from 30 yards to cut the deficit to 2-1.

“Southwestern didn’t make it easy on us,” Tabeling said. “They were pushing and attacking the whole game.”

While the Cougars played on their heels the rest of the way, they didn’t give up a goal as senior Cole Allman came up with a handful of saves in net.

Allman finished with 21 saves for the Cougars.

“Cole definitely kept us in that game,” Tabeling said. “He finished the game with over 20 saves, but six of them were punches out and catches over his head. He played really hard and is honestly probably the reason why we ended up winning that game. We didn’t have much of an offensive attack today, and if he lets two or three of those go in we would have lost. It’s great to see out of a senior on his last home game at Trinity.”

The Cougars (6-7-2), who have won their past two games, will have some down time until they face Hauser on Oct. 7 in the Jac-Cen-Del sectional.

“The regular season is live-action practice scrimmages for us,” Tabeling said. “We wanted to be on a win streak going into sectional. One more win and we’re in the sectional championship and two more wins we get to hang another (championship) banner. We want to be playing at our best right now. We’re only on a two-game win streak, but it’s one of the longest win streaks we’ve had all year. Getting us into sectional on that winning mentality is what we focus on all year long.”