Rock Bridge goalkeeper Tanner Mills used more than his hands to help the Bruins earn a victory Thursday night.
Rock Bridge beat Quincy Notre Dame 2-1 at Cosmopolitan Park.
Rock Bridge (3-1) scored the winner on a Nate Wax goal off a Michael Ferguson assist in the second half.
Mills, a junior, used a powerful kick to bring the Bruins back from an early deficit.
His booming kicks from in front of the Bruins’ goal to the other side of the field allowed the Bruins to consistently put the ball in Raiders territory.
It paid off right before the end of the first half. Marco Pagoada took one of those kicks and passed to Ferguson, who scored to tie it at 1.
“Sometimes I look for a counterattack and notice the forwards may be open,” Mills said. “We know that we have fast forwards and we just try to play them the ball.”
Bruins coach David Graham said Mills has proven valuable.
“He’s got a great foot; he’s a good player, and he’s a great guy,” Graham said.
Eight minutes earlier, Raiders junior forward Ryan Struck scored from 10 feet to give Quincy Notre Dame the lead.
Mills overcame a shaky first half.
“(Mills) did not have a good first half, and I think he’d be the first to admit that he didn’t play a good first half,” Graham said.
The beginning of the second half set the tone for the rest of the game with the Bruins appearing fresher and more motivated. The Raiders failed to threaten Mills and the Bruins.
A halftime speech from Graham appeared to inspire the improved play.
“I just said I was disappointed and that we were not playing good soccer,” Graham said. “Really we shouldn’t need a goal to get motivated; it seems like that’s what we’ve needed the last couple of games.”
Graham said he could have prepared his team a little better. He said the Bruins shouldn’t allow the opposition to dictate the level of play.
“We have to learn to set our own standards instead of letting the other team set the standard at which we play,” Graham said.