Sacred Heart put pressure on Green Ridge’s defense early and often in a 5-0 win Thursday at Clover Dell Park.
The Gremlins scored three times in the first 27 minutes before Green Ridge’s defense was able to limit the Gremlins to two more the remainder of the game.
Sergio Justiniano had a header go wide of the goal in the ninth minute, but was able to score in the 16th minute for the first goal of the game.
Justiniano also scored the last goal of the game in the 54th minute with a header off a corner kick.
Francisco Rojas scored from the left side in the 26th minute and Chris Mergen kicked in from close range on the left side in the 27th minute to give the Gremlins a 3-0 lead.
Max Martin assisted Alden Harding for a goal in the 50th minute.
After Justiniano’s goal to make it 5-0, the Tigers’ defense was able to keep the Gremlins out of the net for the final 26 minutes of the game.
“They are busting their behinds out there,” said Green Ridge coach Tracy Thomas. “They are giving me everything they’ve got.”
The Tigers were playing with limited numbers because of injuries, but Thomas said his team has proven that conditioning has improved from years past.
“One thing I can say is they will not lose a game at the end,” he said.
The Tigers had a couple runs at the goal in the second half.
Ryan Dove dribbled the ball on the left side toward the goal in the 60th minute, but Sacred Heart defenders swarmed him and took the ball away.
Three minutes later, Green Ridge tried to pass the ball up to Holly Thomas but Sacred Heart goalkeeper Sebastian Aguero got to the ball before Holly Thomas.
“I think that made them feel good,” Tracy Thomas said. “In the past we’ve been blanked by Sacred Heart 10-0 and not even get to the end of the game.”
Sacred Heart got some offensive momentum shortly after, but the Green Ridge defense held up.
Brandon Williams gained control of a corner kick in the 63rd minute and was able to kick the ball up to midfield.
Green Ridge goalkeeper Keaton Gibbs kept Mergen from scoring in the 66th minute.
“The second half I think they knew how to contain them instead of trying to stab the ball and take it away,” Tracy Thomas said.
Sacred Heart took advantage of the lead to move players in different positions and get some substitutes in the game late.
One change the Gremlins made was moving Chance Spangler from the back line to a forward spot.
“We typically like to move guys around once we’re in a comfortable position to do that,” said Sacred Heart coach Travis Cooper. “Just to expose them to some new things and give them some time at some places they’re probably not going to be at in some of our bigger games.”
The Green Ridge Junior high team shut out the Gremlins 10-0.
Green Ridge goalkeeper Vadim Timoshchuk didn’t surrender any goals.
Alex Rebikh score six goals and had one assist.
Harrison Needy scored three goals and had a pair of assists.
Carson Brown added a goal and Wyatt Irwin had an assist.
Green Ridge will host La Monte today. Sacred Heart will play at Rockhurst on Wednesday.
Jason Strickland can be reached at 660-530-0147 or on Twitter @J_Strick_Sports.