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Playing one of the state’s top teams is a challenge. Playing one of the state’s top teams the night after playing a previously undefeated region opponent is a little crazy.
But the Rockets did just that.
The SCHS boys’ soccer team (3-1-2) dominated Eastern, 3-0, Tuesday and then turned around and played even with preseason No. 1 Male (3-2-1) in a scoreless tie on Wednesday.
With those two games the Rockets proved they are a force to be reckoned with not only in the region but on the state level as well.
“I think we showed that we can definitely play with anybody,” SCHS Coach B.J. Andriot said. “With tonight's [Tuesday’s] score and this result, I think we’ve shown ourselves and other teams a lot. Coming off that Eastern game, this was a great result for us. It’s hard to get up for big games like that two days in a row.”
The Rockets had their best chance of the game inside the final three minutes of play when Taylor Shaver got a head on a loose ball. The shot got past the Male keeper, but it scooted just barely wide of the goal.
“That was close, real close,” Andriot said. “We had some great chances, but this was a fantastic game for us.”
Male had a shot to steal the game with less than 10 seconds to play when it was awarded a free kick from about 30 yards out. But the Shelby defense cleared the ball before Male could get off a decent shot.
Despite playing on no rest while Male had a day off between games, the Rockets had chances early on to put the Bulldogs in a hole.
Inside the game’s first minute, Shelby’s John Oakey forced a Male turnover deep in the Bulldogs’ territory. His shot to the far post went just left of the goal.
Oakey had another chance early in the game as he went head-to-head with the Male keeper, but again his shot went just barely wide.
“We had two good chances and should have had one in the first minute,” Andriot said.
Male had a good look with less than 10 minutes left in the first half. After a Shelby foul, the Bulldogs had a set piece from about 25 yards out, but the shot was just wide of the post on the right side.
The second half was much of the same, with both teams squandering scoring chances.
Male had the best shot, when Luis Romero had a breakaway about midway through the second half. But Brandon Shuck’s slide tackle knocked the ball away, and keeper David Breen came up with the save.
With both teams stepping up the intensity, the game started to get a little rough. With about 22 minutes left in the game Shelby’s Nerry Arreaga and Male’s Romero were hit with yellow cards. Less than 30 seconds later, Male’s Dominique Zimmerman was hit with a yellow for shoving a Shelby County player, and Male’s Josue Romero was awarded a yellow with just less than five minutes to play for grabbing Arreaga.
Shelby’s Shaver got a yellow with less than three minutes to play for grabbing a Male player, but the game was under control for the final few minutes.
Andriot said he likes to see that kind of aggressive, passionate play from his team.
“I think they could’ve called it a little closer to stop some of that, but I like to see that kind of intensity from our guys,” he said. “I like seeing us out there fighting for every ball.”
The Rockets will be back in action on Saturday when John Hardin visits the SCHS Athletic Complex for a game at noon. Then Tuesday Shelby will host 8th Region rival Oldham County at 7 p.m.
SCHS 3, Eastern 0
The Rockets got goals from Luis Cervantes, Sawyer Abshire and Nerry Arreaga in dominating visiting Eastern (3-1-1).
“We played amazing,” Andriot said. “We spread them out and made them chase us all night. Then, we attacked at the right times and made them pay. We could’ve beaten them 6-0. We had 21 good shots, but we were just wide or high.”