In a season full of dominant performances, delivered perhaps its best effort of the entire season on Wednesday afternoon.
The Rebels notched a 3-0 win over Metro Soccer League rival John Burroughs at the new varsity soccer field at Priory High School.
“We played pretty sharp,” Priory head coach John Mohrmann said. “One of my worries about this team is we’re making the right choices some of the time, but we’re not making those choices quickly enough. Today, I thought there were spells where we did that very well.”
It seemed like a full 80 minutes of making the right choices, as the Rebels controlled the action right from the outset and never really let John Burroughs find its footing.
The Bombers did manage to keep the game scoreless for most of the first half, using a solid defense that constantly harassed Priory as it controlled the ball.
But in the late stages of the half, the unbeaten Rebels finally broke free for two quick goals that broke an otherwise close game wide open.
First, it was Priory forward Jeff Hopson who broke through the Burroughs defense and found teammate Andrew Rhodes streaking through the middle of the box.
Rhodes took Hopson’s pass and immediately blasted a left-footed rocket past Burroughs goalkeeper Alex Spencer and into the net for his Metro Soccer League-leading eighth goal of the season to give Priory the lead.
Then after a Burroughs turnover on the restart, Priory’s Paul Schulz banged home a rebound for his fourth goal of the year to suddenly make it 2-0 Rebels.
“I think what happened today was there was a little bit of tentativeness in our play,” Mohrmann said. “But as soon as we got a goal, guys relaxed and got confident, and boom, we were able to get another one.”
In the second half, Priory didn’t wait long to add a third score, which came 10 minutes into the half. A brilliantly choreographed corner kick play featured Hopson lifting a perfect pass to Peter Reitz, who headed it forward to teammate Brendan Phillips, who then banged it in for his fourth goal of the year to make it 3-0 Rebels.
“They really make it difficult on you,” Burroughs head coach Alan Trzecki said. “They really stretch the field and make you chase after them. They really are a very good team.”
Burroughs did generate one sensational scoring chance late in the second half. Sophomore Francisco Sanchez broke free inside the Priory box, and blasted a rocket shot toward the net and past Priory keeper Kevin Ludwig.
Unfortunately though, Sanchez’s blast was just a bit too high and hit the crossbar, before bouncing away.
“He’s done that a couple of times this year,” Trzecki said. “The kid’s got a great shot, and plays real hard for us. It just barely missed the mark.”
The shutout victory was the eighth in nine games for the Rebels, who are now 9-0 this season and remain one of the state’s top contenders in Missouri Class 2 soccer.
“I think a big part of that is we just keep the ball,” Mohrmann said.
“So teams have to chase to get the ball. And that doesn’t mean we won’t stumble here or there and give up a bad pass and give up a chance, but we just pressure as a team, and that makes it harder for other teams to get chances.”
The Rebels are off for the rest of the week, but will be back in action with another home game on Monday, Sept. 26 against Affton. Opening kickoff that day is set for 4:15 p.m.
Burroughs, which fell to 5-3 on the season, will be back in action on Thursday, with a home game against large school powerhouse, which is 7-1 this season and was ranked No. 44 in last week’s ESPN RISE national high school soccer rankings.
Thursday’s matchup at Burroughs High School is slated for a 4 p.m. start.