In a game that turned on a four minute stretch midway through the first half, the Billikens earned a straightforward 3-1 win Saturday at DeSmet. Jack Twellman opened the scoring in the 20th minute when he picked up a ball that squirted loose from the outside defender. A quick move into the box with the ball and his shot found the side netting on the far side. Two minutes later Richie Hoffman pushed a ball through the six yard box that Kevin Steitz tapped in to give the Billikens a 2-0 lead. The Spartan’s struck back two minutes later when Will Bruin nutted the defender on the right wing allowing him to move into the box and calmly slot his shot over the diving keeper.
It was a mistake the Billiken’s wouldn’t allow again. SLUH has the stingiest defense in the MCC and they applied that experience today, aided and abetted by Head Coach Greg Vitello’s defensive strategy. While SLUH collapsed on Bruin, Jordan Beckles and Steve Seithel worked hard to create opportunities from the Spartan’s long ball strategy but with six or more of their teammates maintaining a defensive position, they were not going to score against the seven and eight defenders that the Billikens were able to get behind the ball.
The Spartan’s had one good opportunity in the second half, when Bruin picked up a ball in midfield and made a run to the top of the box. His shot deflected off the far upright. The Billiken’s got the 3rd goal in the 76th minute when Kevin Moore was sent in on the right side.
In other games among Top 5 ranked teams in the state, the Art Firley Classic hosted by the Jefferson City Jays, was canceled on Saturday due to lightning. CBC and Chaminade from St Louis as well as Rockhurst from KC and Blue Valley NW from the Kansas side of the border, were able to play one game on Friday with the following results:
Blue Valley NW – 1
Christian Brothers – 0
Chaminade – 1
Rockhurst – 0
The odds are good that Rockhurst will make another appearance in the Final Four and one or more of the four MCC teams referenced today should be there as well.