BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST POINT – The Holy Trinity boys soccer team is getting in their conditioning early this year.
For the second time in three matches, the Crusaders found themselves in overtime, this time against visiting Mediapolis in South Park at West Point.
After a scoreless first and second half, the teams entered the first of what would have been two 10-minute OT periods. But the second period wouldn’t be needed as HTC junior Adam Rauenbuehler found a ball lying in the grass with 2:23 left in the first OT and booted it across the Bulldog defense into the right side of the net.
“We got a cross set off a corner kick coming across that was headed, and then I think their goalie may have punched it out,” HTC head coach Ryan Culbertson said. “And Adam came across the front and set the ball across into the corner of the net. It was a heck of a shot off the outside of his foot.”
With most of the match being played on the HTC side of the pitch, the Crusaders were able to get a lot of shots off, but couldn’t get any to find the cords. Mediapolis got a few breaks into their end, but HTC goalie Jason Rees had a quiet night holding the shutout with just four saves.
Culbertson said the Crusaders played a good game, but he prefers not going into overtime as frequently.
“I guess we’re kind of use to it already,” he said. “We didn’t really want it as we’re still building our stamina and conditioning and we’ve got a ways to go. A long game like this really helps but we don’t want this to be a recurring event.”
Junior Audrey Vincent led the Crusaders with nine shots on the night, two on goal. Aden Alfred, Rauenbuehler, and Blake Crabtree all had two shots with a combined six on goal.
“Well, we got a lot of shots,” Culbertson said. “I think we had seven shots in the first half and quite a few more in the second half. The last few years, we’ve struggled getting a lot of shots off, but getting this many shots off early in the season is a confidence booster for all of us.”
He said he was also impressed with the ball control at midfield.
“We’ve really been working and harping on our center and midfielders holding the middle of the field and we did good job of that tonight. It was a good game.”
The Crusaders are 3-1 on the season with their only loss to 3-0 Knoxville in the championship of the Fort Madison Invitational Saturday. The Crusaders beat Fort Madison 2-1 and Central Lee 2-1 in overtime, before losing in the finals. They travel to Burington on Saturday.