COLUMBIA — Senior Jonathan Gunter had just what it took to break the lull.
In the Rock Bridge boys soccer team's 3-0 win against visiting Whitfield on Wednesday night, Gunter was responsible for the second goal, giving the Bruins firm control of the outcome.
Forty minutes after Matt Kelly sent in a penalty kick for the Bruins in the 36th minute, the game remained close. After possessing the ball for the majority of the game, Rock Bridge couldn't find a way to score again in the second half. It was as if the Bruins were hypnotizing their opponents, trying to catch them on the back of their heels.
But with six minutes left in the game, Gunter, a forward, launched a shot from about 45 yards out, catching everyone off guard. The ball sailed into the back of the net.
“I was actually just crossing the ball,” Gunter said. “I didn’t even mean to shoot it.”
Gunter’s hands flew in the air, and everyone cheered with excitement, patting him on the back, surprised and excited his “pass” went in.
“I couldn’t believe it — that explains why my hands went in the air,” Gunter said.
Rock Bridge coach Kyle Austin said, “I’m very proud of him. There are no bad shots, he was just testing the goalie. I told them to shoot the ball and he listened to me. It was a great goal for our last (regular season) game, and no one deserves it more.”
Defender Tyler Brittain scored the Bruins' third goal with 27 seconds left to play.
Gunter, whose goal was his third of the season, said he thought the Bruins “dominated” the game.
“We possessed it well and were able to do what we wanted," Gunter said. "It was a good way to end the (regular) season.”
Austin seemed more than pleased with how the regular season has gone and described it as “surreal.”
“We came in losing 12 seniors — we’re a very young team,” Austin said. “I thought it would take us most of the season to come together, but we’ve been on eight- and 10-game winning streaks, and things have really fallen into place. We’re 20-5, and the kids deserve so much credit.”
The Bruins start district play at 5 p.m. Monday in Sedalia.