Host Trinity used a pair of second half goals to propel itself past Collegiate on Tuesday, winning their 7th Region boys’ soccer quarterfinal 2-0.
After a first half in which neither team maintained a flow and scoring opportunities were scarce, Trinity coach Dale Helfrich used the intermission to settle down his squad. The Shamrocks (18-1-2), the No. 2 team in the state’s Maher Rankings, responded about 10 minutes into the second half when they lured Titans’ keeper Evan Konermann out of the penalty box on the attack.
While the ball got past Konermann, a teammate was able to clear the ball, setting up a Rocks corner. On that play, David Mueller got possession and passed to Ryan Murr near the goal. Murr then headed a crossing pass to Luke Williams, who headed the ball in the wide open from point blank range to give Trinity the lead with 28:37 left in the game.
Trinity now advances to play Manual in a semifinal Thursday evening at Male.
“We’ve just been working set pieces all year,” said Williams, who scored his seventh goal of the season. “It’s kind of our forte. We put it in the box, and it finally went in.”
Murr would add his own goal with 5:03 left to cement the outcome. Greg Fischer would set up his teammate, taking possession at midfield and eluding a couple Titans before threading a pass a racing Murr. Once inside the box, Murr slid the ball past Konermann and into the net for his 23rd of the season.
“There’s no easy road out of Region 7, 6 or 8 for that matter,” Helfrich said. “But I knew we had the guys to get the job done, and they just needed chances. (In the) second half, they did that.”
Neither team was surprised at the lack of offense to start the game. Collegiate coach Chad Wozniak said he expected his team to control the pace at the onset. While Trinity held the ball longer the Rocks were not able to string passes together to create opportunities.
Helfrich credited the Titans’ disciplined defense for that.
“They stick to their game plan and do it effectively and did a good job of getting us out of our rhythm in the first half,” he said. “In the second, we calmed the boys down and got them playing.”
While neither team had many opportunities in the first half, No. 23 Collegiate (10-6-1) had the best chance of the half in the 22nd minute. Haji Abdikadir worked his way through two defenders to take possession on a breakaway. He fired on goal as he entered the box, but Trinity keeper Noah Means-Simonsen, starting in place of Thomas Kolb who was sick, was able to make the save and preserve the clean sheet.
“He’s going to finish that more often than not,” Wozniak said of his sophomore forward.
While the Titans season ends, Wozniak is already looking forward to next season. The Titans return every player on its roster and are set to gain at least one more forward, who missed the season because of a knee injury.
“It’s nice for Collegiate to have a target on its back,” the coach said.
GOALS: Trinity 2 (Luke Williams, Ryan Murr), Collegiate 0.