The STA varsity soccer team beat St. James Academy 2-0 Thursday at STA, following senior night at STA. Prior to the game, the STA team had a 12-2 record and, as of April 29th, were ranked 22nd in the nation, according to the Powerade Fab 50 rankings. St. James was not listed on the Powerade Fab 50 rankings. STA played St. James earlier in the season at the MOKAN tournament, winning 10-0. In Thursday’s game, St. James adapted a different strategy.
“[The St. James players] were very defensive-minded,” head STA varsity soccer coach Jeremy McElduff said. “Almost from the kickoff, about five minutes into the game, they dropped all of their attacking players back and played with 11 defenders basically the whole game. They packed it in and it became real dense in the middle of the field.”
From the initial kickoff, the ball remained on the STA offensive side of the field for the majority of the game. Despite this, St. James was able to counter many of STA’s attempted drives to the goal with their large defensive.
“It’s hard to play a team only playing defense,” junior Kelli Strader said to her mother as she watched the game from the stands to support her sister, STA varsity soccer player Caroline Strader.
Senior STA varsity soccer player Katie Beirne agreed that it was difficult to play a largely defensive-minded team, but believes the team was able to adapt.
“It was frustrating, but I think we went above it and learned to pass around it and changed our game up,” Senior Katie Beirne said.
With 19 minutes left in the first half of the game, the score was 0-0. After multiple attempts by STA to drive the ball past the St. James defense, an assist by sophomore Mallory Radtke and a shot by sophomore Savannah Trujillo gave STA the first goal of the game.
With 15 minutes left in the first half, St. James began to play some offense, although they seemed to revert back quickly to their defensive strategy.
“We could play keep away there with ourselves,” Kelli said. “I am so annoyed.”
With two minutes remaining, sophomore Lizze Luallin received a yellow card when she pushed a St. Jame’s player. The first half of the quarter ended 1-0 STA.
JV soccer threw out STA spirit wear to screaming group of grade school girls, who were invited to watch the game, on the track as the game progressed. With 14:56 left in the second half of the game, junior Maggie Rellihan crossed the ball in front of the goal which was then headed into the net by Trujillo. This brought the score to 2-0 STA where it remained.
“I thought we played really well, but it was pretty boring game, pretty lifeless, but overall a good win,” STA varsity soccer player junior Morgan Trees said.
STA will next play Notre Dame de Sion High School Monday.