Triad Knights and Belleville West Open Metro Cup with Wins

Triad Knights Open with Win over Springfield

Sophomore Morgan Gill (Springfield) sweeps the ball away from Junior Jody Ellis (Triad) in a daring tackle inside the box in Metro Cup opener on March 13, 2017

The Triad Knights, who fought back from a 1-3 deficit to defeat Springfield 4-3 in two overtimes last May in the Class 2A Sectional semifinals, opened the 2017 season with a 3-0 win over the Senators on Monday night at Belleville West.

PHOTO GALLERY – Triad v Springfield

Springfield had the better opportunities in the first half, with 17 winger and Morgan Gill at left back doing good work creating opportunities. That’s also Gill above with an audacious slide tackle in the six yard box that stopped a run by sophomore Jody Ellis. A direct kick in the xx minute from 25 yards rang off the crossbar, rebounding down behind GK Madisyn Stauffer before being cleared. Forward 11 was dangerous with her runs and ability to challenge for any ball in her area.

Triad changed the conversation with a goal by Sam Bassler in the 38th. It was started by Meaghan Smith in the center circle who held the ball under pressure before slotting a ball to defensive midfielder Eryn Little who had moved into the attack. Bassler received, or took, the ball from Little before taking two touches into the box and firing from 17 yards.

That 1-0 halftime lead was extended midway into the second half when Smith was the beneficiary of some wonderful work by sophomore Jordan Wilson. Following a shot that hit the upright and caromed towards the near sideline, Wilson collected the ball and beat a defender deep in the corner before heading to goal along the endline. From the edge of the box, her square ball was redirected to the far post by Smith. The final goal was scored by Jordyn Besserman when a poor goal kick was picked up by Smith about 30 yards out. She found Besserman to her right, finishing with a nice shot from 10 yards.

Having lost GK Skye Clark and Allison Wendt in the midfield, the Knights senior class is well prepared to lead the team to the playoffs again this season. Eryn Little and Morgan Bohnenstiehl in the central midfield, joined by Bassler when she isn’t playing up top in the 4-2-3-1, give a strong central core. A sophomore class that includes Molly Suess in the central midfield, Sydney Beach at outside back and Eryn Fanning at sweeper along with Wilson, it points to a team with depth and poised to continue the kind of sustained performance that captures my attention.

The Knights face Belleville West on Wednesday at 6pm. That will be followed by Waterloo v Triad at 8pm.

The cold limited my opportunities in the second match, leaving after the first half, disappointing as I made the trip to Belleville (a 75 mile round-trip for me from Florissant) specifically to see Waterloo. The game wasn’t decided until the 78th minute as noted below. A possible factor was Waterloo bringing only 14 players to the game.

PHOTO GALLERY – Belleville West v Waterloo

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