The Smith-Cotton soccer team fell behind early but rallied back and in the second half took control, beating St. Pius X 5-1 Monday at Susie Ditzfeld Memorial Field.
S-C trailed 1-0 after Luis Rizek put St. Pius X ahead in the eighth minute as the Warriors pushed to counter attack following a Smith-Cotton free kick.
Smith-Cotton appeared to have equalized in the 34th minute. Carlos Aguire went down just inside the penalty area before Riley Moore took control of ball. Luke Guier tipped it past the keeper, but he was called for off-side, negating the goal and no penalty was given for Aguire going down.
Guier atoned for the off-side call in the 38th minute, taking a long pass and chipping it past the keeper to tie the game 1-1 heading into halftime.
“I think it brought our confidence up,” Guier said. “It brought my confidence up. I had just scored an off-side goal that I should have let run in and I touched it. I owed that one to myself to get a goal.”
S-C freshman goalkeeper Colby Edgar — playing in place of senior Landon Dove who was sitting out a game after a red-card last week against O’Hara — stopped five of the six shots he faced. He stopped a chance on a free kick in the 15th minute and making a save on a counter attack in the 22nd minute, keeping the Tigers in the game before they turned things around.
“Colby really stepped up,” Guier said. “I think we remained calm as a team and just knew ‘OK, let’s get a couple in the net.’”
It was a back-and-forth first half but Smith-Cotton came out in the second half and dominated possession.
“We stopped forcing the ball forward,” said Smith-Cotton coach Ethan Weller. “The first half our effort was not where it needed to be. The effort and intensity was not where it needed to be especially defensively. They had a lot of time on the ball, a lot of space. We closed that down in the second half. The second half we started possessing the ball and actually building like we’ve done the last couple of games instead of trying to dump and run in behind. … When we built from the back, the play was much better.”
The Warriors rarely put pressure on Edgar in the second half. He came off his line to get to a long through-ball in the 62nd minute and his defense cleared away a St. Pius run a few minutes later.
Jordan Lawson put S-C ahead just 32 seconds into the second half, rocketing in a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
“I got it and got past the defender,” Lawson said. “I put it in the top-right corner.”
The Tigers added to the lead in the 55th minute as Thomas Todd set up Alex Esquivel for a goal to make it 3-1.
S-C added two goals off of scrambles in front of the net in the final two minutes. Moore tapped one in after the Warriors had stopped an initial shot from Lawson in the 78th minute. With 28 seconds left in the game, Aguire tapped in a goal following a scramble off of a corner kick.
Smith-Cotton finishes the conference portion of the schedule 10-0. S-C outscored opponents 72-6 in West Central Conference play this season.
“It’s great,” Guier said. “Coach Weller said it hasn’t been done in a long time. It’s exciting to get a conference win, especially to finish it right here for the senior’s last game at Susie Ditzfeld.”
S-C will close the regular season Thursday at Tiger Stadium against Rock Bridge.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles