OAK PARK HEIGHTS — They were travel partners over the weekend, but opponents on Thursday as Stillwater jumped on Hudson early while recording a 3-0 nonconference boys’ soccer victory at Pony Stadium.
The Ponies and Raiders shared a bus on Friday and Saturday while competing in the Minnesota-Wisconsin Tournament in the Milwaukee suburbs and that interaction made for a competitive, yet friendly, match-up on Thursday.
“These boys are good friends and they play together,” Ponies coach Phil Johnson said. “We traveled with them to Milwaukee so it was a very good game from our perspective in that we won, but also from the perspective that this is what we call ‘friendlies’. It allows us to go toe-to-toe with somebody, but my belief is that you play within the rules and you can get a beautiful game and that’s what (Thursday) was.”
The Ponies scored on a corner kick six minutes into the game to grab a 1-0 lead. Nathan Purdie delivered the pass in that Kevin Meads headed off the post. The ball deflected straight out where Alex Jurcoi from the corner pushed a pass across to Roth who finished for the first of his two goals in the game.
“Kevin nearly scored,” Johnson said. “It was good goal, everybody positioned well and executed well and did the job.”
Roth scored again five minutes later with help from Jared Allen, who dribbled wide on the left flank and cut back before dropping a pass to Roth for a blistering shot that found the upper corner from 25 yards out.
“Patrick stepped right into the ball and it was just a bullet,” Johnson said. “Lots of speed, lots of action.”
Roth was on the giving end of Stillwater’s final goal as Max Boedigheimer scored midway through the first half. Roth carried the ball to the line on the left side before threading a pass beyond a defender where Boedigheimer knocked the ball over the goalie, off the cross bar and into the net for a three-goal cushion.
“It was a bit discouraging for Hudson because they came in quick succession,” Johnson said of Stillwater’s early scoring barrage.
Stillwater, which was playing without regulars Roman Devine and Sam Keran because of lingering injuries, received a balanced effort across the board, Johnson suggested.
“We were without a couple starters, but we had guys come off the bench including Tashi Tsering at central mid and James (Menzies) and Brett Balder did a great job going in for Sam Keran,” the coach said. “They just showed some great maturity to good decision making. The whole team really worked on keeping our team shape and our back line showed a lot better cohesiveness. (James and Brett) plus Matt Lagus, Kevin Meads and Charlie Farrington, we had good quality out of them and our speed up top and on the flanks really makes a difference when we press teams for the ball. Allen on the left flank and Jurcoi at forward and in the right flank is becoming more clear and succinct about his play and is very fast. I just think they’re having fun playing soccer.”
n In other games on Thursday, the Stillwater JV team blanked the Raiders 6-0 while the B-squad team dropped a 2-1 decision.
Hudson 0 0 — 0
Stillwater 3 0 — 3
St — 6:00 — Patrick Roth (Alex Jurcoi)
St — 11:24 — Roth (Jared Allen)
St — 19:00 — Max Boedigheimer (Roth)
Shots on goal — Hud: 4; St: 9.
Corner kicks — Hud: 2; St: 8.
Fouls — Hud: 3; St: 5.
Goalie saves — Hud: Steph Smith 3 and Mitch Rosiejka 3; St: Ben Wilhelm 4.