COLUMBIA — The Rock Bridge boys soccer team seemed right at home Tuesday night on Hickman's Robert M. LeMone Field.
With Bruins' cheerleaders on the sideline and a Rock Bridge fan blowing into a vuvuzela, the 6-0 Rock Bridge victory felt like it should have been played a little bit farther south on Providence Road.
"You would have thought we would have rode a two-hour bus ride to get here," Hickman coach Adam Taylor said. "Because I felt like we were the road team tonight."
Despite being slightly outnumbered, the Bruins' fans were much more vocal than their Hickman (7-12) counterparts. Probably because the Bruins' players gave them plenty of reasons.
With 16:46 left in the first half, the Bruins (16-3) had already taken nine corner kicks. Four of these resulted in Rock Bridge goals, two coming off the head of senior Ryan Schmidt.
Schmidt credited assistant coach Alex Nichols and the time the Bruins spent in practice on corner kicks for the successful execution.
"We have been working on (corner kicks) a lot in practice," Schmidt said. "Probably about half an hour to an hour a day."
"Ryan's been such a weapon for us all season long," Rock Bridge head coach Kyle Austin said of the 6-foot-3 midfielder.
"We try to set up a bunch of different plays, a bunch of different corner kicks to try and get him open and they clicked tonight,"Austin said. "We've got several targets in the box there. He's obviously one of them with his size and athleticism. Tonight he did a great job finding the ball and did what he had to do."
Just two weeks ago at Rock Bridge, it took a late goal from Tyler Griggs for Rock Bridge to beat Hickman 1-0. For Taylor, the difference between that game and this game came down to his team's inability to defend corner kicks. He called his team's effort on balls in the air in the first half "pathetic."
"Coming into this game tonight, we knew if we were going to get beat, it was going to be out of the air," Taylor said. "If we allow them to win the ball out of the air that easily, that's the score that you get."