Vikings edge Bears on Coulston goalPublished 9:35pm Thursday, September 20, 2012
After the Niles boys soccer team beat St. Joseph, 1-0, a question had to be answered.
Who officially scored for the Vikings?
“Geez, I don’t even know,” said a mystified Jacobs after the match about the goal scorer. “I just kind of hang out on the sidelines. I just know we got a goal and it was in the fourth minute. That’s what we wanted to do. We wanted to come out and set the tone.”
Many thought that Graham Hoppstock had scored on his corner kick with 36:45 left in the first half.
“I couldn’t tell you honestly,” said Hoppstock. “I know it hit off a player and it might have hit off of Stuart (Coulston). I just know it’s a goal and we’re very happy to win.”
Coulston eventually solved the mystery of who scored, confirming that Hoppstock’s corner kick glanced of his body into the goal.
“I didn’t even really see it,” said Coulston said. “I just felt it on the side of me. I just got a lucky bounce and sometimes things work that way. The tides were going our way this time. This is my second or third goal this year, but this is probably the most special.”
“I was just really psyched that we finally took a lead against St. Joseph and had a chance to beat them,” Hoppstock said about his initial reaction after the goal. “We kind of let down a little bit after that because we were a little bit too hung up on the goal but we eventually regrouped. It was a nice goal.”
Beating St. Joseph was special for Hoppstock because Thursday marked the first time that Hoppstock had won against St. Joseph in his three year’s on the varsity. Niles has scored only two goals against the Bears, including Thursday’s, during Hoppstock’s varsity career. The Vikings had lost six previous matches against St. Joseph.
“I can claim the assist on the goal tonight and I’ll take that,” Hoppstock said.
St. Joseph coach Chris Froelich was surprised that no more scoring took place in the contest.
“I thought we possessed (the ball) and controlled and dictated a ton of the tempo for the majority of the game,” said the Bears coach. “It’s a shame that one letdown on a corner is the deciding factor for a game that I thought we played really, really well in. But give some credit to Niles. They went up early and were able to defend all the way through so that says a lot for them.”
Niles outshot St. Joseph, 11-2, in the first half. In the second half, the Bears owned a 4-3 shots on goal advantage.
St. Joseph’s final scoring chance came with 2:30 remaining in the match when George Pavlopoulos booted a shot from 15 yards. Vikings goalie Ryan Casey would stop the shot and preserve the win.
“Keeping their heads,” Jacobs said on why his team was able to hold on for the victory. “We stayed united and played as a team.”
Niles also executed its defensive strategy.
“We have three (defenders) and we just wanted them to stay solid,” Jacobs said. “Everybody else moves up and moves back.”
Casey finished with six saves in goal.
“Solid,” Jacobs said about Casey’s play. “I can’t live without the guy.”
The one negative for Niles coming out of Thursday’s match was injuries. Starters Chase Hullinger, Luis Aguirre and Kai VanAntwerp left the match because of injuries in the second half. Hullinger was the only one of three that returned.
“(Chase) will be OK,” Jacobs said. “It doesn’t look good for Kai VanAntwerp (knee) and Luis Aguirre (ankle).”
Niles 1, St. Joseph 0
N – Stuart Coulston (Graham Hoppstock) 36:45
Shots on goal
St. Joseph 6
St. Joseph 8 (Nicholas Spearrit)
Niles 6 (Ryan Casey)
St. Joseph 3
St. Joseph 5-8-2, 1-5 SMAC West Division; Niles 5-6, 2-5 SMAC West Division