Monday’s rivalry soccer game between Oak Ridge and visiting Ponderosa was a tale of two halves.
After a first half of tough defense and missed opportunities, the Trojans put on an offensive and defensive clinic as they coasted to their first Delta River League win with a 3-0 victory over the Bruins. Oak Ridge is now 1-2-0 in the standings; Ponderosa is 0-3-1.
“We changed our offensive lineup prior to the start of the second half and once we scored that first goal, the momentum was tilted in our direction and we capitalized on that,” Oak Ridge coach Henry Reis said.
The first half was a mixture of stingy defense and poor luck on the offensive front, as Oak Ridge and Ponderosa exchanged lunging saves and shots off the crossbar throughout the period. In the 30th minute, junior defender Kevin Hanson caught up with streaking Bruin, Jarred Saint, and made a difficult steal that prevented an easy Bruin shot on goal.
“We refrained from making the same defensive mistakes that we have made and that really helped us stay competitive in the first half while our offense was struggling,” Hanson said.
Oak Ridge and Ponderosa goalies David Item and Matt Aguiar, respectively, were kept busy making many difficult saves to keep both teams off the scoreboard going into halftime.
“It was a very slow, deliberate first half that without both goalies’ play, could have swayed in one team’s direction easily,” Reis said.
Shortly after the second half began, in the 43rd minute, Troy’s Tanner Bacci gathered a pass from CJ Hoversten and punched it past Aguiar for the first goal of the game.
“That first goal was big. Matt made a great attempt, but (Bacci) just made a better shot,” Ponderosa coach Don Aguiar said.
With solid defense from Hanson and Trevor Callahan, and tenacious offense from Danny Bonal and Zach Baglin, the Trojans added to their lead on Roger Blum’s goal with an assist from Bonal in the 63rd minute.
“We were passing really well today and when we had the opportunities we put the ball in the net,” Bonal said.
Kyle Dickinson slipped in another goal for insurance later in the half.
“We really pulled together and played as a team in the second half and that’s what we needed,” Reis said.
The Trojans are at Pleasant Grove Wednesday for a 4 p.m. game; the Bruins host Folsom at 6.