Central moves to 19-0 with its third victory over Notre Dame

Thursday, October 23, 2003

On senior night, Central's soccer team gave its 13 seniors one last win underneath the lights of Shawnee Park Sports Complex with a 3-0 win over Notre Dame on Wednesday.

The Tigers pushed their unbeaten mark to 19-0 and completed a three-game sweep of the rival Bulldogs (9-9-2) this season.

"We've got three more games left and each game is getting harder for us," Central senior Trey Willis said.

After falling behind Notre Dame in the opening half the last time the two teams played, Central came out in the first half on the offensive. The Tigers dominated possession and did not allow Notre Dame to get anything going offensively.

Central coach Tom Doyle said he was pleased with the Tigers start but was not happy with their early offensive runs.

"All of our runs were straight up and down," he said.

With the ball in Notre Dame's half for most of the first half, Central had numerous scoring chances. Central's wing midfielder Calen Wills and central midfielder Grant Hengst provided much of Central's offense early on.

The Tigers finally broke through with less than two minutes remaining in the half. Notre Dame's goalie Brendan McMeel had trouble with an outside shot and Willis pounced on the rebound to give Central a 1-0 halftime lead.

"Aaron had a good shot on goal and I just followed it up," Willis said. "I was just where I was supposed to be."

For the Bulldogs, instead of a hard-fought scoreless half they found themselves in a hole.

"We almost got to the half scoreless," Notre Dame coach Brad Wittenborn said. "The ball deflected off the goalie and we didn't make the play on the backside."

The Tigers fed off Willis' goal and took it to the Bulldogs in the second half. Central forward Heath Orr had several good chances and Hengst wiffed on a scoring chance deep inside the goalbox.

But midway through the half Jordan Duncan headed a Devon Edmonds cross into the net to extend Central's lead to 2-0.

"We had a guy on each side of him," Wittenborn said. "It was a great goal, I thought. About the only thing we could have done different is if we were taller."

Less than five minutes after Duncan's header Orr put the game out of reach. Orr took a pass up the middle and after a few dribbles he buried it in the back of the net.

Tony Leuckel, who did not play the first 10 minutes to allow senior Rob Petzoldt to start, got his fifth shutout in his last six starts.

"I expect that from my defense," Doyle said. "They help each other out a lot."

With the game out of reach play became a little chippy late in the second half. Notre Dame did create several strong scoring chances late.

"The last 15 minutes we had all of our seniors out of the game," Doyle said. "I didn't want to take a chance of getting an injury."

Both teams will be back in action Saturday. Notre Dame travels to St. Louis to face John Burroughs, while Central will host Fox.

"I think we can take a lot of positives from this game," Wittenborn said. "Even when we got down I think we stayed fairly focused and gave ourselves some chances."

jjoffray@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 171

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