St. Anne’s-Belfield’s boys soccer team had its work cut out for it Tuesday, facing a physical Christchurch squad that battled the Saints all afternoon.
“They’re a really hard working team and they played a really packed in defense today and made it really hard to break down,” STAB coach Rob Lane said.
Midway through the second half though, Harry Gould connected on a nice feed to Alex Bertone to put the Saints up 2-1 and from there STAB’s defense held to preserve the win. It was the Saints’ first victory of the season as they move to 1-1-1.
“I thought, especially in the second half, we did a better job of making creative runs and creative movements which helped us,” Lane said. “But (Christchurch) worked and pushed us right to the end.”
Gould put the Saints up 1-0 with a first half goal as the senior continues to emerge as a weapon alongside Bertone, STAB’s leading returning scorer and one of the state’s top strikers.
“Harry works really hard on the outside and he takes his opportunities when he gets them,” Lane said. “One of the things that’s really important for us this year is finding ways to score other than Alex and so it’s really big for Harry to step up there.”
Christchurch answered right back though, with the Seahorses’ junior Oluwafisan Adesanya finishing for the equalizer. From there the Seahorses fought to lock up the Saints defensively, with Avery Shivers coming up with several critical stops in net before Bertone broke through midway through the second half.
Down the stretch it was the Saints’ turn to dodge some close calls, including an extremely late sequence where Christchurch created a pair of chances, forcing senior keeper Cooper Allen into a couple of point-blank saves. But the Saints weathered that storm to hold on and grab their first victory of the year.
STAB will look for its second win over the year when the Saints take on Highland Friday in the Menno Classic tournament hosted by Eastern Mennonite. Christchurch takes on Benedictine Friday in the Seahorses’ next clash.