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story.lead_photo.caption Players warm up to play soccer Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, in Jefferson City. The Helias Crusaders dropped a 5-2 decision to the Rock Bridge Bruins in Central Missouri Activities Conference action. Photo by Tom Rackers / News Tribune.

The Helias Crusaders got back on the practice field Tuesday for a light workout, their first since shutting down the program last week due to COVID-19 concerns.

Wednesday night, Helias was back in game action when they hosted the Rock Bridge Bruins at the Crusader Athletic Complex.

The short turnaround wasn't ideal.

"We ran with them in the first half, but we couldn't keep that up in the second half because we weren't very deep today," Helias coach Jay Hebenheimer said after the Crusaders dropped a 5-2 decision to the Bruins in Central Missouri Activities Conference action.

"On Tuesday, we did what we could to get ready for a Rock Bridge team that is very capable, very talented."

The Crusaders were without a handful of players still having to sit out due to health protocols. That lack of depth played a role in the second half.

"The movement wasn't there like it has been," Hebenheimer said. "We should play Rock Bridge better than we did, we just couldn't find the answers."

The Bruins put pressure on the Crusader defense early in the contest. Helias junior center back Miles Vollet hustled back to clear a ball just before it was going to cross the goal line a little more than two minutes into the contest.

"He played out of his gourd," Hebenheimer said. "He was fighting for the ball all night, keeping the back as clean as it was."

The Bruins got on the board about seven minutes into the contest on a goal by Sam Aleto. The Crusaders tied it five minutes later when Brendan Callahan scored off an assist by Ryan Crane.

Cooper Allen of Rock Bridge then scored on a breakaway midway through the half to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. Helias answered with about seven minutes remaining in the half when a long shot by Conner Mudd bounced off the keeper's hands and into the net.

"(Mudd) is playing out of his mind," Hebenheimer said.

Andrew Copeland then gave the Bruins the lead for good with 3:41 remaining in the half to make it 3-2 at intermission.

Rock Bridge doubled its advantage six minutes into the second half when Allen scored on a rebound. Drew Schlimme got the final goal for the Bruins with 28 minutes remaining.

"This isn't ideal, not what we were hoping for," Hebenheimer said. "We were trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

"The heart was there, I could see it in the first half."

Helias keeper Connor Schaefer, under pressure for much of the night, set a Crusader single-game record with 20 saves Wednesday night. Ben Rehagen had the previous mark of 19.

Rock Bridge is now 3-2 overall, 1-0 in the CMAC.

Helias (1-1, 0-1) will play a conference game Monday at Capital City.

"It's the Battle of the Blue," Hebenheimer said.

In Wednesday's JV game shortened to a half, Rock Bridge defeated Helias 2-0.

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