The results for the Columbus and Brookstone boys soccer teams were the same in their Tuesday night showdown at Columbus State’s Walden Soccer Complex. The respective reactions to that result, though, carried moderately different tones.
On one hand, the Cougars (8-1-1) felt like they had played one of their most complete games of the season in battling Columbus (9-0-1) to a 0-0 tie. Coach Billy Byrd raved about his team’s intensity on defense, particularly from seniors Miller Page and Matt Hunter, as well as keeper Ben Holt, who registered 11 saves on the night.
“The seniors in the middle of the defense, that’s the difference,” Byrd said. “We blanked a team tonight that has been scoring goals on everybody.”
Page and Hunter both praised the team’s chemistry in the victory.
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“We’ve played together for a few years and have a lot of chemistry,” Page said.
“We stayed organized and played with a lot of intensity,” Hunter added.
On the other side, Columbus coach Tom Perry said he felt like his team played well, but came out flat in the first half, unable to match the intensity of Brookstone.
“I thought we were soft in the first half,” he said. “They had much more desire.”
The second half was better, as the Blue Devils controlled the ball better and had more success with its passing and trapping. They were able to put the Cougars on their heels for the better part of 20 minutes to begin the second half, getting a number of shots on goal but failing to put it past Holt and into the net.
His defense did its job, though, keeping Brookstone off the board and preserving its spotless record in the loss column. Keeper Cory Aycock recorded eight saves on the night for Columbus.
“It was everything you thought it would be,” he said of the game. “Two good teams played a tight game.”
Byrd said his team would need to take steps to improve the offense, but that its performance against Columbus was, overall, encouraging to a team already ranked No. 5 in Class A.
“We know what we did well, and we’ll practice the rest of the week to improve what needs some work,” he said. “Obviously, we need to score, but that’s a great team we just played.”
“They’re as good as anyone we’ll face,” Hunter added.
Columbus plays next at LaGrange at 7 p.m. Thursday. Brookstone is off for spring break, but will resume play on April 9 vs. Northside.
Columbus girls 6, Brookstone 0
It was a game of good news and bad news for the Columbus High girls soccer team against Brookstone.
On the one hand, the Lady Blue Devils picked up goals from six different players en route to a 6-0 win. On the other, a key player was carried off the pitch with an apparent knee injury three quarters into the contest.
Junior Alaya Tyler, who scored the team’s fourth goal three minutes into the second half, went to the ground hard in the 60th minute. In obvious pain, she held her knee and was carried off the field minutes later.
Coach Rusty Oliver said it was too early to tell the extent of the injury, but that she was in a lot of pain.
“She’s a strong kid,” he said. “She’ll recover. You never want to see anyone hurt.”
Especially not late in a non-region game, ahead 5-0.
Prior to the injury, Columbus had been on the attack the entire contest, allowing just one shot on its side of the pitch. Meanwhile, it picked up goals from Kyla Wright on a long shot that ricocheted off the right post into the net in the eighth minute and another from freshman Gigi Schorr that skipped off the keeper’s hands in the ninth.
A 2-0 halftime score was quickly out of control as the Lady Blue Devils got scores from freshman Kimberly May, Tyler and junior Lane Burbrink in the first eight minutes of the second half.
Hanna Lester added the sixth and final goal of the contest in the 73rd minute, shortly after Tyler’s injury.
“I thought we came out organized,” Oliver said. “That was our goal this year coming off the championship loss. We wanted to attack more. As solid as our defense is, it allows us to focus a little more on the offense.”
Tuesday at the Walden Soccer Complex
Goals— Kyla Wright, Gigi Schorr, Kimberly May, Alaya Tyler, Lane Burbrink, Hanna Lester. Assists— May (2), Burbrink, Schorr. Records— Brookstone, 6-4; Columbus, 9-1-1. Next: Brookstone, April 9 vs. Northside; Columbus, Thurs. at LaGrange.
Goalies— Brookstone, Ben Holts (11); Columbus, Cory Aycock (8). Records— Brookstone, 8-1-1; Columbus, 9-0-1. Next: Brookstone, April 9 vs. Northside; Columbus, Thurs. at LaGrange.