Helias downs Battle in soccer

You could feel the sense of relief.

The Helias Crusaders struggled to get much going on the offensive end for the first 38 minutes in Monday’s game against the Battle Spartans at the 179 Soccer Park.

If the game went into halftime scoreless, Battle might carry that momentum into the second half.

Ian Luebbert ended those worries. The junior forward got the Crusaders on the scoreboard with less than two minutes remaining in the first half and Helias went on to post a 3-1 victory against Battle.

“Finally, we got one,” Helias coach Chuck Register said. “That made halftime a little easier.”

The Crusaders had six shots on goal before Luebbert’s goal, assisted by Cody Hamacher, went in to end a scramble in front of the Spartan net.

“We weren’t playing up to our capabilities,” Register said.

And the Spartans were employing a defensive style.

“They’re working hard to try to keep the ball out of their own net,” Register said.

The Crusaders made it 2-0 midway through the second half on an own-goal by the Spartans. Dominic Salamone hit a crossing pass near the top of the box and a Battle defender headed it into the net over the reach of the keeper.

Salamone got his second goal of the contest with about eight minutes left, lining home a long shot off an assist by Braden Remmert.

“That was the best of our goals,” Register said. “Dom saw an opening and he took it.”

With senior Braden Toebben sidelined with a concussion for at least the next week, Helias will be counting on offense from Salamone.

“We need him, especially with Braden being out,” Register said. “We’re going to have to play a little differently.”

Battle got on the board in the final minute when Owen Hayes worked his way through the Helias reserves to score.

“We wanted to get some guys out there with some playing time,” Register said. “You never know when you’re going to need them.”

Helias (7-0, ranked No. 6 in Class 2) will be back in action Thursday at Fatima before playing this weekend in the Capital City Invitational.

In Monday’s JV match, shortened to a pair of 20-minute halves, Helias and Battle finished tied at 1. Zach Simon had the goal for Helias (4-4-2), assisted by Sam Heckart.

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