COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge junior midfielder Patrick Bromstedt picked a good time to score his first goal of the season.
Bromstedt scored the go-ahead goal off a corner kick in the Bruins' 3-1 win against Rolla (19-9) in a sectional game Tuesday night at Rock Bridge High School. The win sends Rock Bridge (26-3), ranked No. 1 in the state, into the Class 3 quarterfinals against the winner of the Nixa and Carthage game on Saturday.
Rock Bridge coach Kyle Austin said of Bromstedt's goal: "I think it was the biggest goal of the season for us. At that point in time I felt like Rolla was really outplaying us. It was such a huge momentum shifter for us because we really hadn't earned much all night."
Junior forward Ryan Stanowski, who took the corner kick, said: "They were taking it to us for quite some time, and we knew that with set pieces we have been pretty good at them throughout the year. So I knew I just had to put a good ball in there and my teammates will do the rest."
Bromstedt might have scored the most important goal, but Stanowski was the player of the night for the Bruins. Stanowski not only assisted on Bromstedt's goal but also played a role in the two other Rock Bridge goals.
Five minutes into the game Stanowski earned a penalty kick that senior forward Matt Kelly converted to give Rock Bridge a 1-0 lead.
"He came up huge to set up that opening penalty kick that got us on the board early," Austin said of Stanowski. "Just a great individual effort on his part."
"It was kind of a broken play, and I just took it and went with it and felt a little shove in the back and fell down," Stanowski said. "And had all the confidence in the world for Matt to bury that."
With 12 minutes left in the game, and his team clinging to a 2-1 lead, Stanowski took a pass from junior midfielder Eli Sherman and put the game away with a finish just inside the post.
"Eli pretty much did everything, and I just stood there and took all the glory for it," Stanowski said.
"Huge goal for us," Austin said. "We were weathering the storm from Rolla, and I really felt like we were bending but not breaking. We needed one at that time, and I thought Eli did a great job of beating a couple of people. Ryan found some space ... and kind of sealed the deal for us tonight."
In a lot of ways the game was similar to Rock Bridge's 3-1 win against Hickman in the district championship game.
In both games, the Bruins scored first only to see their opponent answer with a goal. Rock Bridge responded with two goals to close out the game in both instances. The scoreline may have transpired the same way, but the games felt different.
"In the Hickman match I always felt like we were in control," Austin said. "I always felt like we were creating great opportunities. We just weren't finding the back of the net."
In contrast, Austin felt Rolla had been controlling the pace of the game.
"Tonight I felt like Rolla kind of had the run of play," he said. "They were being the aggressors, and they were kind of forcing the action on us, and we were taking a little bit more of a defensive (stance) than I normally like."
Despite not being in control for a large chunk of the match, Austin said he was proud of his team's effort.
"You've got to credit this team. It wasn't our best game. It wasn't how we envisioned it going," he said. "But when the opportunity arose we stuck in three huge goals, and at the end of the night, it's goals on the scoreboard that matter."