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Central shoots down Mules
The Tigers posted a 3-0 victory over Poplar Bluff.
By Jeremy Joffray ~ Southeast Missourian
Central's soccer team made it two-for-two this week in games against district opponents, shutting out Poplar Bluff 3-0 Thursday at home.
The Tigers (6-3) shut out Sikeston 6-0 on Tuesday.
"It's a good win," Central coach Tom Doyle said. "It's a district opponent, a conference opponent. It gives us a little bit of a leg up."
The Mules had the better of the play early on, dancing around the Tiger defenders. Central goalie Tony Leuckel was forced to make a strong save on a cross just minutes in.
It didn't take long for the Tigers to right themselves. Less than five minutes into the game, Ryan Ponder put away a rebound to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Ponder fed fellow forward Devon Edmonds, then followed up Edmond's shot for the goal.
Central and Poplar Bluff each had several good chances after the goal, but at halftime the score remained 1-0. Leuckel was forced to make another big save early in the second half on a one-on-one opportunity.
"Tony came up big tonight. I've been splitting time with him and Jordan Young, but with Poplar Bluff having a tough team I wanted someone more physical," Doyle said.
Aaron Hutsell followed Leuckel's save with a goal midway through the half to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Hutsell took a pass from Sam Bornstein, who made some strong moves to keep control of the ball.
While Central defender Cody Gaither held Poplar Bluff forward Justin Alford in check much of the game, Alford did force a penalty kick with 14 minutes left to play. Leuckel was up to the task, though, making the save to his left.
"I felt really confident after he called the PK," Leuckel said.
Tyson Whiteside added an insurance goal late in regulation on an assist from Cole Crist.
Central's JV won 3-0 on goals from Matt Hester (2) and Ryan Vangilder. Ben Patrick (2) and Brad LaBruyere had assists. Jackson Hill and Clayton Uptain were in goal.