Strong first half powers Rising Sun in soccer
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,
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.