Once again, Rock Bridge’s defense was just a little better than Hickman’s.
The Bruins beat the Kewpies 1-0 on Thursday night at Cosmopolitan Park. It was their second shutout of Hickman this season.
The teams were scoreless until Rock Bridge (18-1-2) got a goal in the 55th minute.
Michael Ferguson broke through with his 34th goal of the season on a shot that bent just inside the near goalpost. The play came four minutes after Kewpies’ goalkeeper Drew Huckla made a diving save of a Ferguson shot on the best scoring chance of the night up to that point.
“We just needed a motivational booster to get us going,” Ferguson said. “Fortunately, we were able to make something happen.”
Earlier in the game assistant coach Myles Hinkel urged Ferguson to be a catalyst for his team.
“I thought it was important for him to get going,” Hinkel said. “He was not being as active as he could’ve been. It’s important for the others guys to see that he’s not only one of the best players on the field but also one of the hardest workers. The team really feeds off of that.”
Hickman had controlled the ball in the second half until Ferguson provided Rock Bridge with a spark.
The Kewpies got several shots off but goalkeeper Tanner Mills turned them away each time.
Hickman (9-11-3) played the second half without leading scorer Michael Washington, who aggravated a contusion while heading a ball in the first half.
The goal did seem to infuse the Bruins with the energy they had been lacking all game.
Within five minutes Ben Patton, who assisted on Ferguson’s goal, sent a volley off the right post and Matt Spainhour forced Huckla to make another difficult save.
As time elapsed, however, Rock Bridge made defense its top priority. The Bruins have simulated how to play the final 10 minutes with a one-goal lead in practice. Coach David Graham was pleased with how the Bruins executed in a game situation.
Rock Bridge will be the top seed when the district tournament begins a week from Monday. Hickman will be seeded third.