After an emotional victory over rival Gibault on Monday, the Waterloo Bulldogs were back on the prowl Tuesday.
Senior captain Kane Osterhage scored two goals in a 33-second span in the first half and Waterloo used the momentum to cruise to a 5-0 victory over Belleville East in a nonconference game.
Seniors Philip Most and Jon Kreher and junior Ben Huels scored one goal apiece, while sophomore Noah Mouradian chipped in with two assists.
“We bounced back really well,” said Osterhage, whose penalty kick at 14 minutes, 35 seconds gave the Bulldogs the lead for good. “At the beginning, it was a little bit of a rough start, but we bounced back well and played well the rest of the game.
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“We think we can have a great season. We’re looking forward to every game and we think we can go deep into the postseason. We have a deep team; we don’t have to play as long as we did last year. We sub fast, we play fast. We should be good.”
Waterloo coach Chad Holden was wondering how his team would fare playing for a second straight night, particularly against the Lancers in their season opener.
“We did talk about that a little bit,” Holden said. “We thought (Monday) night, we came out a little bit flat in that game, and then we really started to put it together. We’ve just got to keep carrying that from game to game. You’ve got a lot of games in a short season. How can you not be pumped up? The season goes by so fast.
“We’ve got a good senior-oriented team and they know this is their last year of high school soccer. They want every game to count. ... The guys are hungry in general and they like to score goals. We’ve been impressed with our goal-scoring, but we haven’t given up a goal yet, either. We’ve played some really good defense.”
Osterhage was kept off the board Monday, but he capitalized on a foul in the box against East, blistering a shot past Lancers senior keeper Jakob Kerkemeyer to make it 1-0.
Then, at 15:08, Osterhage settled a short pass from junior Griffin Lenhardt on the right side and scored from deep in the box to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0.
Osterhage led Waterloo in scoring as a junior with 17 goals and seven assists, so Holden was certain it wouldn’t be long until his talented forward broke loose.
“He’ll have his quiet games here or there, but we all know he’s a gem for us and he’s going to put them away,” Holden said. “He’s making good runs from the middle for us, so it’s good for him to get those two goals.”
Most scored at 23:15 to make it 3-0 at halftime, capitalizing on a bobbled save attempt by Kerkemeyer and converted from inside the box. Mouradian was credited with the assist.
The lead grew to 4-0 on Huels’ goal assisted by senior Cole Kaiping at 45:33, and Kreher scored from Mouradian at 71:14 to culminate the scoring. It was Kreher’s first career goal, and it came with the Bulldogs playing a man down after junior Tyler Grob was issued two yellow cards.
“They’re a good team,” East coach Mark Lasley said. “It’s kind of like Columbia last year. They’ve got a lot of quality guys, and at that smaller-school level, they get up for the big schools and they’ve only got a few on their schedule. They’re going to be tough.”
The Lancers were limited to three shots, with the best chance coming by sophomore Cameron Whitehead just over eight minutes into the second half. Whitehead’s flick was on goal, but Waterloo junior goalie Trevor Coplin dived to his right to make the save.
Lasley bemoaned the Lancers’ defensive breakdowns that enabled Waterloo to capitalize from deep in the box.
“We gave them way too many opportunities,” Lasley said. “We were not very good at clearing the ball out of our box. I think we cleared the ball to the top of the 18 three or four times, which led to great shooting opportunities for them. When you do that, you’re not going to win.
“It wasn’t like they were hitting 40-yard bombs. We did a bad job of clearing, they finished the chances. That was the story all night.”