STOVER — La Monte scored first but Green Ridge had plenty of answers in a 9-1 win over the Vikings to advance to the championship game of the Kaysinger Conference Tournament.
Keeping the ball in the La Monte end for most of the game, the Tigers had an 18-0 edge in corner kicks and rarely let the Vikings establish much offense in the attacking third.
The Tigers’ Ryan Dove said the key to maintaining the pressure was “mainly just play as a team, don’t ball-hog. Trust your teammates, keep making quick, short passes to control it.”
Viking defenders often tackled the ball away from Green Ridge players, only to have clearing attempts turned back in by the Tigers midfield.
“(We were) blocking at the top of the box because we knew they like to take high shots from up there,” said La Monte coach Drew Burris. “If we had our defensive mids come across and get them under pressure, we’d be fine, but we couldn’t get there quick enough.”
La Monte scored in the 12th minute when Charlie Fletcher was brought down in the penalty box. Tristan Hackworth converted the penalty kick.
It took 10 minutes for the Tigers to equalize. Dove’s shot deflected off a Viking defender, then off the inside of the post and in.
“Coach has been telling me to shoot more because I haven’t shot that much in previous games,” Dove said. “I was right there in the box and I took it and it deflected off the defender and spun right in the corner. It was pretty lucky, but it’s still a goal.”
Four minutes later, the Tigers were in front as Peyton Needy scored on a ball that deflected off the bottom of the crossbar.
Jordan Dillon then added two goals in the final 11 minutes of the half including one from the edge of the penalty area.
“He can serve up the ball better than probably anybody on our team,” said Green Ridge coach Tracy Thomas. “He knows how to assist somebody and he knows how to set people up and he does it well.”
In the second half, Dove added two more goals and the Tigers got goals from Dakota Chewning, Eric Ray and Needy.
“All in all, we were in control most of the game,” Thomas said. “It was just a matter of time and moving the ball around. Eventually it started falling for them.”
Green Ridge will face Sacred Heart for the Kaysinger Conference title at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“I’m hoping that they come out playing right from the start,” Thomas said. “That was a weakness (Wednesday). Hopefully they come out right from the start, try not to get intimidated, go out and play with them. They have just as good a chance as any.”
La Monte will play in the fifth-place game at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles