COLUMBIA - As the season starts to dwindle, the Rock Bridge boys soccer team begins to shift their focus on to district play.
After Thursday’s game against Waynesville, the Bruins only have three games left in the regular season, including next week’s big game against Jefferson City. Rock Bridge defeated Waynesville 4-0, with goals by juniors Austin Powell, Matt Kelly and Kory McDonald, and sophomore Tyler Bales. Bales is Rock Bridge’s junior varsity leading scorer but was pulled up to play varsity from last weekend’s tournament. In goal, Brady Wulff and Jonas Gassman, for the last 12 minutes, were responsible for the shutout.
With a season record of 18-4, expectations are set high for upcoming district play.
“All we want to do is just come out and win. We’re going to continue the way we’ve been playing and we’re going to try to push every game,” head coach Kyle Austin said.
Last year, the Bruins got as far as the district semifinals. They battled against rival Hickman but came up short 1-0. This year, it’s about getting that bad taste out of their mouth from last year and doing what needs to be done to advance even farther this year. With districts just a couple weeks away, the thought of it is no longer just in the back of their minds and preparations are now in action.
“We’ve really been trying to focus on our defense. We’re trying to find ways we can slow the game down and really work on set pieces,” Austin said. “We’re trying to get a lot of players more experience in games instead of just relying on 12 players. Instead, we’re about 17 or 18 deep.”
As of October 1, Rock Bridge is ranked 13th in the state, just two above Hickman.
“It’s nice to be recognized, but I told my team that it means very little, as long as we’re winning,” Austin said. “I’d much rather have a state title than a state rank.”
The Bruins’ next game at Jefferson City on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.