Visiting Pleasant Grove’s goal nine minutes into the second half accounted for the only scoring on Oct. 3 as the Eagles edged Oak Ridge 1-0 in Delta River League soccer action.
The Trojans controlled first-half play but couldn’t capitalize on their offensive chances. Defensively, Oak Ridge broke down and failed to clear an Eagle throw-in that traveled to Dalton Weber on the weak side. Weber took the untouched gift and put it home.
“That’s what’s most frustrating — it (goal) wasn’t even from a set piece but our mistake, and they take a shot and it goes in,” Trojan coach Henry Reis said. “We owned the first half but missed five to six opportunities. In the second half they upped the tempo, pressed us and we never recovered.”
Pleasant Grove was in retreat mode at the start of Monday’s match as Oak Ridge, behind CJ Hoversten and Sean Woldberg, ran freely through the midfield and attacked with Tanner Bacci, Nico Lionakis, Daniel Bonal, Roger Blum, Eli Remy, Kevin Hanson and Ryan Chung up front.
“I thought we did real well in the first half but couldn’t finish our opportunities. It’s disappointing, I thought we’d do well — win or at least tie,” Hoversten said. “Both teams played hard and this could have gone either way.”
The second half turned physical and testy, affecting the game’s rhythm. Weber’s goal stunned Troy but defenders Ben Schowengerdt, Doug James, Payam Mowzooni, Kevin Uhrik and keeper David Item dug in with hopes of putting Oak Ridge in position for an equalizer.
“We started off really strong but as the game progressed we got sloppy and it cost us the game,” Schowengerdt said.
Woldberg nearly put the Trojans on the board first with a screamer that Eagle goalie Jacob Werner batted over the crossbar. Hoversten and Mowzooni unleashed rockets and Woldberg blasted another attempt, but they all sailed high. Blum caught Werner flat-footed when he returned a deflection but the shot missed the frame.
Defensively, Pleasant Grove dropped most of its players back to stymie Oak Ridge and launched counterattacks. The Eagles almost doubled their lead late in the match. Item disrupted the play and the ball slowly rolled backward but was wide of the post.
The Trojan junior varsity team defeated Pleasant Grove 2-1 in the late game.
Oak Ridge is back on the pitch Wednesday for a 4 p.m. game with Jesuit.