Trinity Lutheran’s boys soccer team came up with what coach Joe Doggett said was the Cougars’ best match of the season Monday evening.
The result was a 5-0 win over Salem that snapped the Cougars’ loss string at eight.
“We played super well,” Doggett said. “It’s our first win. Finally our passing is looking good, kids are in shape, everything is coming together at the right time.”
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Trinity’s Jacob Sabotin missed a header from in front of the goal two minutes into the match, and both teams missed free kicks over the next nine minutes.
Micah Baumgartel scored at 16:04, and Doggett said that is the first time his team had led in a match this season.
Kash Siefker was in the right place at the right time when he took control of a loose ball and put it in the goal at 3:35, and the Cougars added an own goal at 1:03 for a 3-0 lead at the half.
Doggett said it was nice to lead 3-0 at the half.
Salem’s Luke Noel had a penalty kick with 33:40 remaining, but his shot hit the cross bar and the ball sailed back toward the middle of the field.
Siefker added a goal at 27:26, and recorded a hat trick with 25 minutes remaining to complete the scoring.
Doggett liked the way his team controlled the ball as the Cougars attempted 32 shots while the Lions were held to 15 attempts.
“Our team can’t afford to sit back and rely on defense because our strong suit really is our offense, and the defense just has to help," he said. “If we’re not the aggressors we’re not going to win.”
The coach said the shutout was the result of both the offense and defense playing well.
“Our defense, yes, was defending well, but more importantly our offense, our midfielders were controlling the middle, and when you do that there are very few shots going on the defensive side," he said. “It enabled us to move our defense up and have more control of the game. That gave us a chance to have a lot more opportunities to score. The last 20 minutes we pulled most of our guys out.”
Trinity goalie Brayden Stockleman had nine saves.
The win gives the Cougars renewed excitement about the upcoming postseason. But first they’ve got to deal with Class 3A’s Bedford North Lawrence.
“We’ll get into the sectionals in about three weeks and we’re excited," Doggett said. "We’ve got a game on Thursday against a good Bedford team, which is kind of out of our league, but I think we’re going to do well.”