Big hits, kicks and jumps
A talented Triad Knights team led by Joe Wade and Jake Ellis was not spectacular but solid enough to go into Highland on Tuesday and prevail.
Wade and Ellis each scored a goal in the first half and the Knights added a pair of second-half goals and posted a 4-0 shutout win over Mississippi Valley Conference arch-rival Highland at Glik Park.
Triad moved to 6-0-1 (1-0 in conference) and its performance left coach Jim Jackson somewhat satisfied.
“This was a big deal with Highland and Triad, and you can throw records out the window ... it’s toe-to-toe and we came to play. I was frustrated (with our play) and some of our key guys were sitting on the bench because they weren’t doing what we wanted them to,” Jackson said. “To come here and get a 4-0 victory in a conference game is good, so we’re happy.”
For the second time in three games, Highland (2-4, 0-2) was shutout, but the game had a different feel for Bulldogs coach Jay Robertson, who saw some improvement in his young club against a talented and experienced Triad squad.
“I thought we had some positives today,” Robertson said. “We had been in a bit of funk offensively of late, but I thought we were starting to make some runs that had been absent the last few games and started to see more pace and a little bit better pace today. Triad’s a very good team ... I give them credit, but I do feel we’ve made some steps to go forward.”
Triad took the lead at the 8 minute, 54 second mark of the first half on a rebound goal by Joe Wade. Just before the end of the first half, Jake Ellis fired in a shot from the left side of the box past HHS goalie Luke Stieb to make it 2-0 with with 1:10 left in the opening stanza.
A penalty kick goal by forward Travis Speer put the Knights firmly in control at 3-0 with 34:30 left in the second half.
“Whenever you get a third goal it takes the wind out of their sails, and I think our fitness showed to where it was wearing those guys down,” Jackson said. “I think defensively we locked it down pretty good in the second half.”
Sam Beeman notched the final goal, making it 4-0 at the 61-minute mark. Michael Tentis assisted.
Despite the loss, Robertson said he felt the Bulldogs are heading in the right direction.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys playing a lot of varsity minutes and we’re learning right now,” Robertson said. “We’re learning, but I think we’re going to start coming together soon.”
Both teams are scheduled to take the field again Thursday, Sept. 12, as Triad hosts Belleville West at 4:15 p.m., and Highland visits Collinsville at 5 p.m.