It was almost a sense of relief.
The Helias Crusaders had struggled to find the net in recent games against quality competition. Things didn't get any better in the first half Monday night, when the Crusaders went into halftime scoreless against the Camdenton Lakers on Senior Night at the Crusader Athletic Complex.
But it didn't take long to get things going in the second half. And when they got going, they kept going.
Sam Conley scored in the opening minute of the second half and the Crusaders went on to post a 5-0 victory against the Lakers.
On the play, a long shot went off the hands of the Camdenton keeper and Conley was there to tap it in to give Helias the lead.
"It was him crashing in front of the net," Helias coach Jay Hebenheimer said. "That's something we haven't seen a enough of this season. When you attack the front of the net with aggression, good things can happen."
With the lead, the pressure seemed to lift off the Crusaders.
"It's been a tough week or two," Hebenheimer said. "All that kind of washed off us when Sam scored. It was like we remembered what it was like to play.
"It was what we needed when we needed it."
The Crusaders made it 2-0 about five minutes later. Brendan Callahan settled the ball near the side of the net and slotted a perfect pass to Ryan Crane, who knocked it in.
"That was beautiful," Hebenheimer said.
Miles Vollet increased Helias' lead to 3-0 with 28:29 remaining with a long liner from near the top of the box.
"That was a boomer," Hebenheimer said.
Callahan scored with a little less than 16 minutes left to make it 4-0. Carter Prenger got the assist.
The final goal came with 3:36 remaining when Crane found the back of the net.
Hebenheimer was pleased with the way the Crusaders rebounded from an ugly first half.
"It was a slow start for the boys," Hebenheimer said. "We tried to do in the second half what we did in the first, but it was a little rough.
"We were just whacking it in. We possessed the ball well, but when we got into the attacking third, it was like we lost our minds."
It all started with better possession.
"I think we found some things tonight," Hebenheimer said. "The puzzle pieces are starting to come together to make a picture."
Connor Schaefer got the shutout in goal for the Crusaders, finishing with five saves.
The Crusaders honored their four seniors — Conley, Logan Wilson, Schaefer and Nick Schaben — prior to Monday night's varsity contest.
"Kudos to Sam Conley and Logan Wilson and Connor Schafer and Nick Schaben," Hebenheimer said. "They've been big pieces for us this year.
Camdenton is now 2-5 on the season.
Helias (2-5) is back in action Wednesday against Battle in a Central Missouri Activities Conference match in Columbia.
In Monday's JV game, Helias dropped a 2-0 decision to Camdenton.