Boys soccer: Balanced attack sends Ponies to victory

 

WHITE BEAR LAKE — Playing for the first time in 12 days, the Stillwater boys’ soccer team put its training to work while blanking White Bear Lake 4-0 in Thursday’s Suburban East Conference game at Price Field.

“It was a good game for us,” Ponies coach Jake Smothers said. “We haven’t played since the Wayzata game (on Aug. 24) and we solved some of the issues we came across in that game like working on a more fluid attack and strengthening our defense a little bit.”

Alex Jurcoi scored on a corner kick by Max Stevens midway through the first half for a 1-0 lead and Nathan Purdie extended the lead to two goals in the 32nd minute after scoring on a penalty kick — created when Jurcoi was taken down in the box.

“The team is a bit young, so the training during the time off gave us a chance to work on the things that we noticed from the first weekend and today we really saw that,” Smothers said. “We were much more creative in the attack and, defensively, covering for each other.”

Senior Ojulu Arupo scored his first varsity goal six minutes into the second half for a three-goal cushion. The extra breathing room helped the reserves gain some valuable playing time.

Sam Keran, who normally contributes on the defensive end, was able to take a more active role in the attack and scored Stillwater’s final goal with five minutes remaining in the game.

“Our three freshmen (Patrick Allan, Colman Farrington and Jake Lagus) played well,” Smothers said. “They played a lot of minutes and contributed to defending and attacking.”

The Ponies (1-0 SEC, 2-1), who held a 25-2 advantage in shots on goal, will face Cedarburg in Hudson, Wis., on Friday evening as part of the Minnesota/Wisconsin Tournament. Play shifts to Stillwater Area High School on Saturday when the Ponies will host Brookfield East.

 

Stillwater 2 2 — 4

White Bear Lake 0 0 — 0

 

St — 24:00 — Alex Jurcoi (Max Stevens)

St — 32:00 — Nathan Purdie (penalty kick)

St — 6:00 — Ojulu Arupo (Purdie)

St — 35:00 — Sam Keran (Jared Allan)

 

Shots on goal — St: 25; WBL: 2.

Corner kicks — St: 5; WBL: 0.

Goalie saves — St: Erik Meitz 2; WBL: NA — 21.

 

Contact Stuart Groskreutz at stuart.groskreutz@ecm-inc.com

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