No matter what else Sam Spivey got his mom for her birthday on Tuesday, it would have been tough to top his game-winning goal that gave Columbia a 1-0 victory over Monroe County soccer rival Gibault.
Michelle Spivey, this one was for you.
“It was my mom’s birthday, I was trying to give her a good gift,” said Sam Spivey, a junior midfielder who scored the game’s only goal on a 25-yard free kick with 4 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the first half. “That was my dreams and prayers for that to go in for my mom, for her birthday, and for my teammates. It was just unbelievable how it happened.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Spivey put his foot into the ball and picked the top left corner as the shot eluded Gibault goaltender Trevor Davis.
“I saw the goalie was on the right side, so I tried to go up and over the wall and it worked out for me,” said Spivey, who has four goals this season. “It’s something I do on FIFA (a soccer video game) ... that’s not something I can do every time. I’ll say there was definitely a bigger source inside me that made that happen.”
Columbia is off to an 7-0-1 start and junior goalkeeper Jon Kuebler has recorded eight straight shutouts. He stopped all four shots he saw Tuesday and has handled 24 without a mishap this season in 473 minutes of action.
It was my mom’s birthday, I was trying to give her a good gift. That was my dreams and prayers for that to go in for my mom, for her birthday, and for my teammates. It was just unbelievable how it happened.
Columbia’s Sam Spivey
The lone blemish on the Eagles’ record was a 0-0 tie against Highland on Monday. But they bounced back quickly, putting a damper on Gibault’s homecoming by getting a first-half goal from Spivey and then applying heavy defensive pressure the rest of the night.
Columbia coach Jason Mathenia seemed impressed with Spivey’s accuracy on such a long shot.
“Whenever he’s able to get hold of a dead ball, he’s been good on them,” Mathenia said. “That was pretty picture perfect right there. He hit that well and it went where it needed to go. With the size of their keeper it’s about the only place he could have hit it for the keeper not to get it.”
Along with Kuebler, who made a huge save early in the second half on Gibault’s Dalton Scace, the Eagles’ airtight defense includes Cole Bivens, Charlie Harres, David Hawickhorst and Connor Pelt.
“We’ve taken a lot of pride this year on defending,” Mathenia said. “Even withstanding the pressure of tonight ... having a lot of luck on our side, Kuebler’s done a phenomenal job in goal for us.
“We just continue to strive on doing the right things: defending properly and limiting opportunities.”
There was no shortage of opportunities for Gibault (4-5-1) on Tuesday.
One of the best came just under 27 minutes into the first half when a well-struck shot by Kyle Rocca glanced off the crossbar. Scace had several good chances as well and a second-half free kick by Gibault’s Karson Huels also found the crossbar instead of the back of the net.
I don’t know how you can dominate a second half much more than we did without finding the goal, but credit to them. They’d bend and bend and bend but they didn’t break.
Gibault coach Matt Reeb
Huels put another good chance over the net.
While Gibault kept applying pressure in the Eagles’ end, the Hawks got few shots on net as they kept missing high and wide.
“Yeah, a disappointing second half,” Hawks coach Matt Reeb said. “I don’t know how you can dominate a second half much more than we did without finding the goal, but credit to them. They’d bend and bend and bend but they didn’t break.
“Our last finishing touch wasn’t there. We put several (shots) over, several off the bar. We just didn’t quite have that last little bit to put it in.”
The Eagles jammed things up inside defensively, forcing the Hawks to try using their speed on the wing.
“I think if we had the finishing touch a few times, if we keep our head down and we don’t put the ball over the frame, that’s a different result,” Reeb said. “I think they’re doing a good job of being able to bend, but not break defensively.”
Davis stopped seven of Columbia’s eight shots.
A huge crowd packed Oerter Park in Columbia for what has become a fierce rivalry.
Columbia is 8-4-1 in the last 13 meetings against Gibault, including 1-0 victories in three of the last four games.
“We were hyped to play this one, the adrenaline took care of most of it,” Spivey said when asked about getting revved up again following an intense 0-0 game with Highland the night before. “I’ve been watching these (Columbia-Gibault) games since I was like 5 years old, coming to all the high school games. It’s definitely more exciting when you’re playing.”