As the boys Seventh Region soccer final went to a penalty kick shootout, Trinity goalkeeper Thomas Kolb kept thinking about the advice a former coach gave him.
Follow your gut feeling and watch the player’s hips.
Kolb would come up big in the first round of the shootout, blocking Eric Brangers’ attempt to give the Rocks a 1-0 lead. The Shamrocks, the No. 2 team in the state Maher Rankings, didn’t falter in the shootout, and when Drew Goetz beat Clayton Allen, it secured a 5-3 shootout victory and the Rocks’ third consecutive regional title.
Trinity now moves on to play South Oldham in a semistate game at 7 p.m. Monday. The game is scheduled to be played at Carroll County.
Kolb said he remembered facing Brangers in a club soccer game shootout a few years ago.
“He went the same way (left) in the club game, so I thought he was going that way,” the junior said. “So, I went with my gut, and I saved it. From then on there, my players took in their hands and they won the game for us.”
The win came one month to the day of the Rocks’ lone loss – in a shootout to Male in the Bulldog Cup. Since then, coach Dale Helfrich said, the team made it a point to take kicks in practice.
“I’m so proud of our guys,” Helfrich said. “And I tell you what, what a fantastic game from St. X. Absolute great program, but I’m really proud of our guys rallying and getting the job done.”
The teams played to a scoreless draw through the 80 minutes of regulation and two five minute overtimes, but both teams had their chances. Trinity dominated possession in the second half, getting five corner kicks in an 11-minute span. The Rocks used those set-piece opportunities to put shots on goal on at least three of them, but the No. 5 Tigers defense remained stout. Twice, midfielder Bennett Moorman cleared shots from the goal line.
Trinity’s aggressive play forced Tigers coach Andy Schulten to make some changes to his personnel in the second half, as he opted to go for a more defensive minded approach to cover the Rocks attack. However, once overtime started, Schulten decided to go to the team’s standard formation. That led to them becoming the aggressors in the overtime.
“This is a tough one to lose because we played the game to get to the overtime, and given the stakes, we felt like that was probably our only chance,” Schulten said. “So this one stings a little bit, but I think that’s only because it’s the closest in memory.”
The final was originally scheduled to be played at Male’s field. However, concerns about the effects the rain would have on the grass field led organizers to move the game to St. X’s turf surface.