COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge soccer forward Tarnue Tyler was one player who expressed dismay over his team's execution in corner kick situations after last Wednesday's district championship game. Even with the win, his expectations were not fully met.
"That should have easily been a 7-0 game," he said, shaking his head after that 3-0 win over Hickman. "We didn't finish like we were supposed to."
But on Tuesday night, in a Class 3 sectional game against visiting Jefferson City, Rock Bridge finished like it was supposed to. Tyler made sure of it.
He provided a goal and gave the assists on each of the other goals in the 4-0 win.
"This went exactly like we planned it to," the sophomore said.
In preparation for the Jays (20-7), Tyler said the team spent practice time in corner kick sets, simulating the plays it struggled to capitalize on against the Kewpies.
The Bruins (21-4-1) edged past the Jays 1-0 in overtime earlier in the regular season, and they knew their corner kick attempts would be opposed by a wall of bunched and waiting Jays outside the box.
On two occasions, Tyler kicked out of the corner to find senior Salim Gumati for header goals.
Draped by defenders in the middle of the field, the quick-footed Tyler passed to senior Tyler Siegle in the 31st minute for Rock Bridge's first score. Tyler's goal late in the second half finished off the Jays.
"He's something," Gumati said of Tyler. "He's a great forward to put the ball on his foot. He's just someone you can give the ball to and just make runs off him. He's gonna either get you the ball or score the ball. There's a lot that he has in his repertoire."
It was the success out of the corner, Tyler said, that brought his joy at the end of the night.
"We came up big on that," he said. "That's why I'm excited right now."
On the field after the game, Tyler was smiling in the center of a team huddle full of smiles.
"All my guys are talented, but I think it's just his expectations for himself," coach Alex Nichols said of the thing that made Tyler . " When your confidence is high and you have high expectations, most the time good things are gonna happen."
Rock Bridge will host Glendale on Saturday in the state quarterfinals.
Supervising editor is Nina Pantic.