Senior James Brooks (17) defends against a Father Tolton player during last week’s match in Columbia. The Eagles fell to the highly ranked Crusaders by a score of 0-1.

by Sharon Horton and Todd Pridemore
The Eagles Soccer team opened last week by traveling to Columbia to face the Father Tolton Crusaders (10-7), who are ranked #6 in the state in Class 1. Tolton has played a challenging schedule, and have picked up impressive wins against larger schools like Helias and Columbia Hickman. SBC gave Tolton all they could handle during this contest. Although the Crusaders controlled possession for much of the match, the Eagles played strong team defense for the full 80 minutes.

The first half ended with neither team being able to score, and the solid play of goalkeeper Emery Arnold was a big reason why the Crusaders were held without a goal. The second half began with Tolton creating several more scoring opportunities, and they broke through in the 44th minute with the lone goal of the match. Near the midpoint of the 2nd period, Drew Dial drew a yellow card when he was tripped, but the Eagles couldn’t convert the opportunity.

On Thursday evening, SBC welcomed the Laquey Hornets (9-10) to Ashland for the annual Pink Out game. Long-time SBC booster and soccer dad Bern Bonderer once again organized the cancer awareness and fundraiser aspects of the evening. Multiple Eagles players honored loved ones who have battled cancer with a balloon launch prior to the Varsity match. More than $1,470 was raised on the night. All proceeds were directed to the family of Thomas Lutz, father of player Tim Lutz. Mr. Lutz passed away in July after a long battle against cancer.

On the field, the Eagles controlled play for much of the match. However, a quick Hornets counter-attack allowed them to score first and take a 1-0 lead in only the 8th minute. Only seven minutes later, Tim Lutz brought an eruption from the crowd when he scored off an Alejandro Pagoada corner kick to knot the score at 1-1. The Eagles continued to generate quality scoring chances, and managed to take a 2-1 lead with just under three minutes until halftime. After Pagoada served another corner kick into the box, SBC moved the ball around until it came to Brayden Watson near the top, left corner of the 18-yard box. His strong shot found the top, right corner of the net.

In the second period, James Brooks, Andrew Pridemore, Lutz, Drew Dial, Noah Ottinger, and Watson all had high-quality shots that nearly found the net, but were either close misses or were saved by the keeper. Eagles goalie Emery Arnold recorded five saves in the match, including an impressive leaping deflection that kept Laquey from adding to their lead in the first half. The 2-1 victory moves SBC to a record of 10-8-0. In an abbreviated JV match, SBC defeated the Hornets 3-0. The Eagles scored with goals by Grant Leininger, Mason Baker, and Blake Nichols.