For The Tribune
Trinity Lutheran’s boys’ soccer team had some golden opportunities to light up the scoreboard during Tuesday night’s match against Christian Academy of Indiana in the Class A sectional played on the Christian Academy campus.
However, the Cougars were unable to put any of their 30 shots in the goal, while the Warriors scored one goal in the first half and added two more scores in the second half for a 3-0 victory.
The only goal the Warriors needed was put in by Dylan Hancock at the 17:27-mark of the first half.
Cougars coach Brandan Tabeling said he felt his team was outplayed the first 20 minutes of the match.
“The first half of the first half they kind of really brought it to us,” he said. “They were putting it on us the whole time, keeping us on our heels. The last half of the first half we kind of started getting in our groove, getting our passes and moving the ball up the field, getting shots off.”
Trinity’s best chance to score was by Trent Shoemaker with 12:30 left in the first half. He had a hard kick headed for the middle of the net when Christian Academy goalie Kevin Ballew made an outstanding, sliding stop. The ball hit him on the stomach and he hung on, one of 19 saves he made during the match.
The Warriors (5-6-3) outshot the Cougars 11-9 in the first half and that did not sit well with Tabeling.
“At halftime I really lit into the guys and let them know this isn’t the kind of Cougar soccer I’m expecting. We hadn’t been building up the last two months to lose a game playing this way.
“We told them at halftime if you go out there and play like your capable of playing, and these guys hold us off, or find another goal and end up beating us, we can handle losing like that.
“The way we were losing in the first half wasn’t what the four seniors had worked four years for, and the other 12 guys had been working two months to go out on a cheap goal that was kind of laziness.”
The Cougars took Tabeling’s message to heart and turned up their intensity and aggressiveness and outshot the Warriors 21-7 in the second half to finish with a 30-18 margin.
“The way we came out in the second half, they were definitely feeling our pressure,” Tabeling said. “We were attacking them. Noah Criswell had a header that just barely skimmed over the goal. Caleb Baumgartel, who recently joined the team, had a chance from 10 or 15 yards to rip a shot, and got unlucky and got underneath it.”
The Cougars (6-8-3) had other excellent opportunities to tie the match before the Warriors added goals at 9:08 and 6:39 to close the scoring.
Tabeling said if any of those shots would have gone in to tie the match, the pressure would have been on Christian Academy.
“Any of those shot could have totally changed the game and then the momentum was in our favor and their backs would have been against the wall.
“We just couldn’t catch a break on finding the back of the net and get things to start rolling our way. You’ve got to give Christian Academy credit. They held through the attacks, and once they got their counter attack and put in that second one, we can’t play defensive any more, we’ve got to take some chances.”
Tabeling credited his four seniors, Jacob Crockett, Sam Hayes, Criswell and Andrew Emily for playing hard to the end.
He said it was going to be hard to not have those seniors on the team any more but “I feel the rest of the team should have done those guys proud the way they came back in the second half and really put it on the line and try to get a goal and make it a brand new game.”