The Patriots (3-10-2) played without five starters but managed to hold the No. 2-ranked Indians (12-0-2) to just one first-half goal. Jefferson County simply packed the box with defenders and forced D-B to shoot from bad angles.
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“We had our opportunities in the first half,” said D-B coach Blake Rutherford. “Except for some great saves by their goalkeeper we could have scored four or five goals in the first 15 minutes.”
D-B did notch its only goal of the first half within two minutes of the opening whistle. Sam Garcia slid a ball into the Patriots’ goalmouth and Tucker Holt redirected it into the net.
But the remainder of the first half was just frustration for the Tribe forwards. They produced 16 shots, four on goal, but could not capitalize on their chances.
The second half was a different story.
Spencer Correll put the Indians up 2-0 in the 44th minute when he headed a pass from Phillip Burdge into the goal.
Patriots freshman goalkeeper Anthony Bernadi made 11 second-half saves, many of them at point-blank range, but it just wasn’t enough to hold back the tide.
Eli Click tallied two second-half goals and Will Arrowood added one late in the contest.
“We have to be more dedicated to finishing,” Rutherford said of his team's first-half frustrations with getting their shots on frame. “Our buildup was fine, but the entry passes weren’t good decisions.”
The Indians’ back line produced another shutout. They have allowed just five goals in their 14 games this season.
“We’ve played together a while and trust each other,” said Burdge, the centerback. “We contest every ball.”
D-B allowed just three shots from the Patriots, none on goal.
The Indians had 15 shots on goal in the second half. Bernadi kept the game within reason with his spectacular play in goal.
“The early goals in the first and second half set us back,” said Jefferson County coach Shawn May. “Missing those starters cost us in the technical aspect of the game.
“But give D-B credit, they possess the ball so well and are one of the fastest teams we’ve seen all year.”