Helias soccer blanks Kirksville

It was just about all the Helias Crusaders could have expected from their soccer season opener.

Especially on the scoreboard.

Gage West scored once in each half Tuesday night at the 179 Soccer Park and the Helias defense did a great job of limiting Kirksville’s scoring chances as the Crusaders posted a 2-0 victory.

“I liked our overall game, we really played well together,” Helias coach Chuck Register said.

Kirksville’s strategy was apparent from the opening kick. Helias got the ball first, kicked it backward and Kirksville’s players never moved across the midfield line. The Tigers were going to pack it in on the defensive end.

“We were very technical, very tactical against a team that kind of laid back a little bit,” Register said. “We were patient, found our way up the field and got some chances on goal.”

Helias was able to work through Kirksville’s defense a few times in the opening 30 minutes. The Crusaders had eight shots before the Tigers managed their first one.

Kirksville did have a good offensive run in the opening 10 minutes when senior Nathan Wohlers made a break down the field.

“The first time he took a run, I thought we were in trouble,” Register said. “But our defense stepped in front of him the rest of the game, we kept the ball away from him and I don’t think he was much of a factor after that.”

West got the Crusaders on the board with about nine minutes to play in the first half, scoring on a booming shot from 35 yards out.

The long shot was a product of preseason work for the Crusaders, who talked about not passing up on longer shots this season.

“That’s what can happen,” Register said.

Helias finished the half with a 13-2 edge in total shots, including an 8-1 bulge in ones on goal.

The Crusader defense made that one-goal advantage stand up for most of the second half. West provided a little cushion with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining when he scored on a run through the Tiger defense.

“It just shows where our chances are going to be this season,” Register said. “We can score from the outside, we can score taking it to the goal.”

Helias finished with a 21-2 edge in shots.

“We can see how we can score, it’s just a matter of finishing,” Register said.

Kyle Daledovich got the shutout in goal for the Crusaders.

Helias (1-0) will host Camdenton on Thursday. The JV game will start at 5 p.m., with the varsity contest beginning around 6:45 p.m.

III

The Helias junior varsity is off to a 0-3-1 start to the season.

On Tuesday, Helias and Kirksville played to a scoreless tie. Over the weekend, the Crusaders played at the Rock Bridge Tournament.

Helias fell 4-1 to Rock Bridge. Zach Simon had the goal for Helias, assisted by Ben Mitan.

The Crusaders then lost 1-0 to Fatima before ending the tournament with a 4-2 defeat to The Fulton School at St. Albans. Grant Stokes had a goal for the Crusaders and assisted on a score by Simon.

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