Eagle Ridge soccer gets big victory in shootout

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The school won the St. Louis Missouri Christian Schools Athletic Association conference tournament championship.

The Eagle Ridge Christian School soccer team heads into this week's Christian schools state tournament on a high note.

Eagle Ridge won its first St. Louis Missouri Christian Schools Athletic Association conference tournament championship on Friday night, edging Collinsville Christian of Collinsville, Ill., in sudden death penalty kicks.

After the teams had played to a 2-2 tie in regulation and two scoreless overtime periods, each team made three goals in the first five kicks.

In sudden death PKs, Eagle Ridge goalkeeper Ethan Grant, who made 14 saves in the game, turned away Collinsville's shot, and Aaron Shell scored on his shot for the winner.

"The kids kind of went crazy. They were very excited," said coach Tony Hammack, who coaches Eagle Ridge along with Jonathan Thomasson Sr. "Getting the No. 2 seed, we told the kids they had to prove it, and they rose to the occasion."

Eagle Ridge had split with Collinsville during the regular season, including a 7-1 victory at home on Sept. 25.

The third-year program is 11-3 with a nine-game winning streak despite playing many games -- including the conference title game -- with fewer than 11 players. The team had 10 last Friday and played a 4-3-2 format down one midfielder.

The two attackers are Shell, who had an assist Friday for his 14th of the year; and Daniel Cohen, a junior who scored the two goals in regulation to bring his total to 44 this season.

"He's the leading scorer in the state," Hammack said of Cohen. "He's a good finisher, and he's a very unselfish player. The statistics may indicate otherwise, but he is very unselfish."

Cohen, who was joined on the all-SLMCAA regular-season team by Stephen Cohen and Ben Douglass, has 10 assists this season.

Eagle Ridge is seeded third among seven teams in the MCSAA Division 2 state tournament that begins Thursday in Joplin, Mo. Eagle Ridge's first game is 2 p.m. against sixth-seeded Christian Academy.

"We're the smallest school in the smallest division," Hammack said. "This is a really good season for us."

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