By Mike Phillips
The first two times the Green Ridge Tigers and La Monte Vikings battled on the soccer field this season, the Vikings emerged victorious.
Well, there is an old saying that it is hard to beat a team three times in one season. That came true Thursday night as the Tigers turned the tables on the Vikings, as Hayden Doane had a hat trick in a 3-0 non-conference win under gloomy, drizzly skies in Green Ridge.
La Monte might have taken Green Ridge lightly and the Vikings were coming off a huge, 3-2 win over Class 3 Holden in a penalty kick shootout two days earlier.
One thing the Vikings were definitely guilty of was not using the whole field. The Vikings bunched up and pushed the ball up the middle of the field instead of spreading out and using the wings. That allowed the aggressive Tiger defense to clog up the middle, making it difficult for La Monte to get off any clean shots.
Green Ridge’s defender trio of Tom Dove, Cole Dove and Jason Ehlers turned back almost every Viking offensive push. Center midfielder Connor Dillon anchored the middle of the field. Tiger goalie Austin Story had a great match in the nets, recording the shutout with eight saves, including a leaping save of a Viking shot that appeared headed for the upper portion of the goal with nine minutes left to preserve the shutout.
Green Ridge dominated the match, outshooting the Vikings 17-9. La Monte goalie Wyatt Payne had 11 saves.
Right off the opening kickoff, La Monte’s Juan Barajas headed right up the middle, beat the Green Ridge defense and had Story out of the nets. Barajas had a wide open goal to shoot in, but was quickly surrounded by the Tigers and couldn’t get off a shot.
It was all Green Ridge from that point. Every time the Vikings had the ball in the penalty area, the Tigers packed it back in with 10 defenders, totally frustrating the Vikings.
Midway through the first half, the Tigers’ Mark Timoschchuk took a free kick from near the midfield stripe. His shot almost got in the upper left corner of the net, but was tipped away by Payne at the last second. In the crowd in front of the goal, La Monte received a yellow card.
Finally with 1:30 left in the half, Doane scored the first of his three goals to put Green Ridge up to stay 1-0 at the half.
Bryan Harvey appeared to score the tying goal in the first minute of the second half. He corralled a goal kick by Story in the box and hit a rocket into the back of the net.
However, one of the officials ruled he had called time out before the goal kick and took away the goal. That brought howls of protest from the La Monte bench.
Doane scored a pretty goal three minutes into the second half, taking a long volley pass, beat two Viking defenders, got Payne out of the nets and hit a low liner into the left corner of the net for a 2-0 Tiger lead.
With intermittent light showers falling in the second half, Doane closed out his hat trick with 10 minutes left in the game as the rain began to fall harder.
Green Ridge improved to 2-9-2 on the season while La Monte fell to 7-6. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.