Scoring goals in soccer isn’t always about quick feet and strong legs. Sometimes the rest of the body comes into play.
That formula worked out well for St. Amant as Tyler Bridgewater and Ulrich Gaffney used their bodies to manufacture a goal each in a 2-0 victory against District 5-I rival Dutchtown at the Griffins Stadium on Tuesday.
Bridgewater and Gaffney both scored after the ball rebounded off their torsos when Dutchtown defenders tried to clear it. After Gaffney’s goal in the 54th minute, the Gators (10-3-2) held off a strong offensive push by the home team.
“We had a lot of leadership on the field,” said St. Amant acting coach Collin Yammarino. “The biggest difference was our patience. We didn’t score in the first half, but we wanted to start fast in the second. We got the goal and the biggest thing was not letting up after the goal. We got the second and saw the game out.”
St. Amant backup goalie Taylor Wall survived a late Dutchtown onslaught to post the shutout with nine saves.
Shots on goal were hard to come by for both teams in the first half, each team getting one. Early in the second half Bridgewater took the ball up the left side. When the clear shot rebounded off of him, it set up perfectly for the shot past goalkeeper Joshua Barrow.
“The ball came right back to me and I played it into the back of the net,” Bridgewater said. “This was one of the hardest-working games we’ve had. We got confidence after the goal but Dutchtown is always good. You can’t relax.”
Ulrich wove his way through traffic and hit the ground at one point but got up.
“He tried to clear it; it came off my chest and fell right in front of me,” Ulrich said. “I put it away. I tripped up a little bit, but had enough time to get back up and finish. That was our best game of the season.”
Down 2-0, Dutchtown (8-5-2) picked up the intensity and had some opportunities to get back in the game. Cooper Fontenot’s throw-in sailed into the net, but referees ruled no Dutchtown teammate touched it. Two more apparent goals were waved off by the referee, one on an offsides call. Ayden Rawashdeh had a clear shot on a free kick but Wall collected it.
“I thought we did fine,” said Dutchtown coach Marcus Dyer, whose team was without three starters because of COVID-19 restrictions. “St. Amant is strong disciplined physical team. They use their size and use it well. Tyler is a fantastic player. He can change a game and he did. Gaffney is a strong, physical player. He uses his presence.
“We got a little unlucky on a couple of chances, that’s the way the game goes. You can’t make excuses. We stayed in it and fought to the end.”