COLUMBIA — It only took one for Rock Bridge soccer. One goal, one moment.
The Bruins (24-5) defeated Carthage 1-0 on Saturday in the Class 3 state quarterfinals.
Fans of all ages piled into the stands, bundled in blankets and scarves with their hot chocolate. But the Bruins did not let the cold stop them, and their next step is the state semifinals where they will meet Rockhurst (23-5-1) at 5 p.m. on Friday in St. Louis.
Bruins senior captain Danny Baird needed only a split-second to advance his team to the final four. He sent the ball to the back-right of the net in the 53rd minute on an assist from Ryan Schmidt.
“After I scored, all I could think about was that we’re going to the final four,” Baird said. “I was really happy I could help my team out in such a good way.”
The momentum from Baird's goal kept the Bruins going with intensity and passion. Rock Bridge coach Kyle Austin said that although at times his players just kicked the ball into space, he thought his team played well.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities, but we were able to put the ball in the back of the net,” he said.
With big games come filled stands, and that was exactly what occurred at Rock Bridge on Saturday. The sounds of feet stomping on the metal bleachers, the horns buzzing and the “Boomtown” cheers from the student fan section made the atmosphere powerful. It was clear there were no fair-weather fans at this, the coldest game of the year.
“We had tons of fans, which really pumped us up. We knew there was a lot on the line, which raised the level of play,” Baird said.
After the game, before heading to its bench, Rock Bridge ended with an enthusiastic, crowd-involved, “I say ‘Boom,’ you say ‘Town’” chant.
It's not just the team that's excited for a run at the state championship.
"Before the game I told them (the players) to just enjoy the moment,” Austin said. “We’ve made our first two goals, which were to win the district championship and make it to state. But now we’re just two games away and I know they can taste it, I know they’re not satisfied yet.”