Coming off perhaps their best performance of the season Saturday, the Helias Crusaders battled to match that standard Tuesday night.
They didn't. But they still got a victory.
"It's hard to play that well all the time, but we fought through it and got a win," Helias coach Chuck Register said after the Crusaders rallied to beat the Hickman Kewpies 3-2 at the 179 Soccer Park.
On Saturday afternoon, Helias was strong on both the offensive and defensive ends in a 3-0 blanking of the Quincy (Ill.) Blue Devils.
"That was about as good as we could play," Register said.
And after Ian Luebbert rocketed home a shot four minutes into Tuesday's contest off an assist by Gage West, it looked like the Crusaders were ready to pick up right where they left off.
"That was a great shot by Ian, maybe his best of the season," Register said.
The Crusaders had a handful of other scoring chances in the first half, but they came up empty and it was 1-0 at intermission.
The break seemed to take the momentum away from Helias. Hickman had the better of play almost from the starting whistle.
"We were just flat," Register said. "Instead of attacking, we just let the ball move around and Hickman got into their game."
The Kewpies scored twice in a five-minute span to take the lead. Carter Cox tied the game on a goal with 32 minutes remaining, then Issa Butoyi gave Hickman (6-2-1) the lead with a score off a corner kick.
"We just left (Butoyi) alone," Register said.
The Crusaders tied the contest with about 15 minutes remaining. Braden Toebben booted a corner kick to the front of the Hickman net and Tim Struemph leaped to head it into the opposite corner.
"As tall as he is, he can get up there and get his head on it," Register said.
It was the first goal of the season for Struemph, a senior.
"That revved us up," Register said. "You could see how excited everybody was."
Another corner kick led to the game-winner with three minutes left. After a rebound, Carson Mueller lined a shot into the goal to give the Crusaders a one-goal lead.
"Carson's pretty strong in situations like that," Register said.
Helias (14-5) will play Friday at Springfield Catholic and Saturday at Carthage.
In Tuesday's JV game, Zach Simon scored with about three minutes left to pull Helias into a tie at 1 with Hickman