COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge midfielder Kory McDonald had the ball at his feet as the first half drew to a close in Tuesday night's so-far scoreless boys soccer game against Jefferson City.
Suddenly, Rock Bridge coach Kyle Austin yelled out, "20 seconds left Kory."
Just 19 seconds later, the Bruins had the only goal they would need in a 1-0 win at Wayne Sells Family Activity Field.
With eight-tenths of a second left before halftime, the Bruins' Salim Gumati volleyed in teammate Matt Kelly's cross. Kelly's pass had been tipped by the Jays (13-8-1) goalkeeper into the path of the charging Gumati, the only sophomore to play exclusively on varsity.
"Honestly, I didn't know how much time was on the clock," Gumati said.
"Felt like the goal was against the run of play," Austin said. "I didn't really feel like we maybe deserved it at the time."
Both teams struggled to keep possession in the first half, a point that Austin said he couldn't help but be upset despite the win.
"I was really frustrated. I thought we came in with a game plan and we didn't execute tonight," he said. "I was pretty disappointed."
Despite the struggle with possession, Rock Bridge (19-3) had a few good scoring opportunities before Gumati's goal.
"Against Jeff City and all these good teams, we are only going to have four or five good chances, and we have to learn to knock a few of them in," Kelly said.
Rock Bridge became the No. 1-ranked Class 3 team in the latest Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association poll. The Bruins, who were ranked No. 2 in last week's poll, received six of the nine first-place votes.
Austin was quick to not put too much stock in the ranking, at least not yet.
"The polls are the same with any sport. It doesn't matter till the end of the season," Austin said. "That's the only poll that counts."
He did express appreciation for the votes his team earned.
"It's nice to get the recognition for mid-Missouri soccer," Austin said. But he also added, "We are not the best team in the state."