Strong first half pow­ers Ris­ing Sun in soc­cer

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL SPORTS - By KEVIN PHILLIPS

Spe­cial to the Whig

— Ris­ing Sun was the more as­sertive team dur­ing the first half Thurs­day against North East, tak­ing ad­van­tage by jump­ing out to a three­goal lead.

While the In­di­ans re­sponded by pulling within a goal mid­way through the sec­ond half,

NORTH EAST

the host Tigers an­swered with a pair of late tal­lies to pull away for a 5-2 non-divi­sional vic­tory over their rivals on Se­nior Night.

“We played the first half like how we know we can play,” Ris­ing Sun coach Ken Ul­rich said. “We’ve had some ups and downs and weird scores this year, but with this be­ing the se­nior game against North East, I said, ‘It’s like play­ing your brother. You know these guys. It’s per­sonal. You don’t want to lose against your brother.’ The last cou­ple of years, we’ve had some re­ally close games against them.”

The Tigers (4-6) opened the scor­ing in the game’s sixth minute when Ryan La­fontaine launched a through-ball to Braden Thomas, who made a cou­ple of touches be­fore shoot­ing it into the net.

Jared Ed­mund­son gave Ris­ing Sun a 2-0 lead in the 32nd minute when he beat the North East goal­keeper to the ball in­side the box and flicked it into the net. The Tigers took a 3-0 ad­van­tage fol­low­ing an own goal in the 36th minute.

Ris­ing Sun’s strong first half was a re­sult of match­ing the early in­ten­sity show­cased by the In­di­ans (3-6-1).

“We knew we had to come in with a lot of nas­ti­ness be­cause North East al­ways comes in, with the lev- el of team they have, ex­pect­ing to win,” Thomas said. “We knew we had to come into the game ex­pect­ing that, so we played hard.”

At half­time, North East head coach Mark Kalwa chal­lenged his team to be more as­sertive in the sec­ond half and the In­di­ans re­sponded by play­ing more ag­gres­sively, which cre­ated scor­ing chances.

Adam Bute­newicz put North East on the board in the game’s 64th minute when he scored di­rectly off a free kick. Oliver Dre­bis then pulled the In­di­ans within a goal, at 3-2, when he put in Con­nor Rowe’s cor­ner kick into the net less than a minute later.

“I felt that we were very timid in the first half and we were let­ting them win ev­ery ball. I told them that ‘You need to step up as men and go to the ball, and you got to go through it. If you do that, the game will change.’ And it did,” Kalwa said. “Once we started win­ning the ball, the skill started to step up and the heart started show­ing.”

Af­ter goal­keeper Cole Leonard made a save on a break­away in the fi­nal five min­utes to keep the Tigers in the lead, they put the game out of reach with goals from Demetri Smith and Gar­rett Wil­son.

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