Trailing 4-0 at halftime Thursday evening, the Trinity Lutheran boys soccer team could have packed it in.
Instead, the Cougars came to life in the final 40 minutes, scoring three goals to put a scare into Hauser before coming up just short in a 4-3 loss.
“It was a tough loss,” Trinity coach Brandan Tabeling said. “The first half is nowhere near what we want our team to look like and be represented. They wait too long to get into that game mode and start attacking. It was good to see them come out and fight for themselves to get back in the game.”
The Jets (3-1) scored twice in the first four minutes and three times in the first 9 1/2 minutes to take a 3-0 lead. They added a fourth goal in the 28th minute before coach Andy Hunnicutt pulled his starters.
With the Hauser starters still on the bench to begin the second half, the Cougars (1-4) got on the board with an unassisted goal from AJ Goecker in the 47th minute. Goecker then assisted on a goal by Trent Shoemaker in the 54th minute that cut the lead to 4-2.
At that time, Hunnicutt began putting some of his starters back in. After Trinity’s Kohei Nagino scored in the 76th minute to make it 4-3, most of the Jets’ starters were back on the field for the final four minutes.
“When they got the momentum and were coming back, I started reinserting some of the starters to try to get control of the game again,” Hunnicutt said. “But they still had the momentum and the wind, and they played very well in the second half. I don’t think we did as well, but we managed to hold on.”
While Hauser played all 26 healthy players on its roster, Trinity had only 12 players.
“It’s tough on these guys playing,” Tabeling said. “Today was thankfully a little bit cooler, but it’s tough playing with one sub in 80-90-degree heat.”
The Jets finished with an 18-13 shot advantage, but Trinity put nine shots on goal to eight for the Jets.
Andrew Emily and Jacob Keith each played a half in goal for the Cougars. Both recorded two saves.
“We’ve had a big problem so far this year with starting at the beginning of the game and coming out flat and coming out lazy and letting other teams kind of get the upper hand early on in the game,” Tabeling said. “It was nice in the second half to see them come out and get aggressive and kind of take it to the other team.”