YoungJu Yoo, Tommy Thompson, and Bobby Schultz are all smiles after their 1-0 victory on Tuesday. The winning goal is becoming a routine play for Thompson and Yoo, while Schultz continues to control the net. Their consistent play is enabling Hillcrest to change their game plan to create mismatches on both the offensive and defensive end.
Looking quickly at the shots on goal, it is natural to think that Hillcrest fell prey at the Sub-Section finals again, continuing their drought of the section championship for the 8th year. However, due to a new scheme implemented by head coach Rod Jensen, the Comets used their 16-4 shot deficit to rise above their competition.
Many estimate that the actual shots taken by St. Cloud Cathedral tallied near 30, but the Comet defense quickly diffused over half the shots, while Schultz took care of the rest in the net.
The game felt to drag on after Hillcrest's quick strike at the seven minute mark. Thanks to decisive passing and a well played ball, Young Ju Yoo planted his feet at the top of Cathedral's goalie box while Tommy Thompson set the ball down in the corner and took a series of decisive steps in setting up the corner kick.
Tommy and Young Ju know this play well. It was a similar connection that earned Yoo a hat trick in the previous game. The two couldn't have known that this connection would again earn the Comets a win. After Thompson's soaring boot, Yoo squeezed between defenders to head the ball in. It's a play all aspiring soccer players dream of, and the duo has made it look easy throughout the season.
After the goal the Comets set up in their new scheme. Smothering defense kept Cathedral fighting for inches while the Comets protected yards of green space behind the back row. The defense continued to push the ball up as Cathedral's talent was no match for the Comet's strategy.
As the referee signaled the end of the game the Comet Tri-captains breathed a sigh of relief. Each had an integral part in the win, hoping to avenge a difficult loss from the previous season where Cathedral outlasted Hillcrest at home.
Hillcrest plays Bemidji, a team they lost to in their opener and one of the final losses in their 12-4 regular season record. Game time is 7:15pm in Bemidji. The winner earns a trip to the State playoffs.