Rockets top No. 2 South Oldham, 2-1

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By Todd Martin

The Shelby County boys' soccer team has played a brutal schedule this year, and it finally paid off Tuesday, when the Rockets upended No. 2-ranked and visiting South Oldham, 2-1.

"It was a huge win for us," SCHS Coach B.J. Andriot said. "I would imagine it's one of the biggest ever because it wasn't a fluke. We played great soccer and beat a very good team."

Both teams had several shots on goal in the first half, but the game remained scoreless until the Dragons (11-2) finally got on the board with less than three minutes before halftime.

A set play gave South Oldham a chance, and a mix up on the Rockets' defense left a player open for a header to give South a 1-0 lead.

"We were playing well, but just couldn't get a shot in," Andriot said.

But that changed quickly in the second half.

"We came out, got possession and held it for about the first minute-and-a-half," he said. "We were moving the ball through the middle, from side to side, and they didn't even touch it. Finally we worked the ball into the corner, and Brandon Shuck got fouled."

That set up a free kick for the Rockets (5-4-1) and Nery Arreaga.

"Nery sent a great ball in to Bradley Shuck, and he hit a bullet of a header past the goalie. That tied it inside the first two minutes, and from there it was game on."

The Rockets took the lead when Arreaga's shot was pushed off the cross bar by South Oldham's keeper and Brandon Shuck was there to clean up the mess.

"The confidence boost from this game is huge, especially at this time of the year with the district tournament right around the corner," Andriot said. "If we can beat North Oldham [at SCHS on Thursday] we have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the district."

Andriot said the Rockets' victory over South Oldham could be traced back to last Saturday's defeat of John Hardin (10-4-1, No. 19 in the state).

"We started playing a 4-3-3 with Nery [Arreaga] moved to the midfield with John [Lisby] and Carlos [Carias] in a triangle. Basically, it sets up triangles on the field, and it takes the middle away from teams. Our passing has been phenomenal since we started," Andriot said.

The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Rockets. Shelby County will face No. 13 Male Tuesday, No. 17 North Oldham Thursday and then go to unranked but 7-4 Eastern to end the season on Oct. 9.

"We have some tough games left, but we're playing as well as we ever have right now," Andriot said.