By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
Althoff used a late first half goal to turn momentum in its favor against the Rams soccer team Saturday.
The goal with about a minute left gave the Crusaders a 3-1 lead and was part of a string of four straight scores.
Althoff went on to win the game 5-1.
“I haven't seen us play with this discontinuity,” Mt. Vernon coach Jim Duncan said.
The Crusaders put the Rams under constant pressure early and throughout the game. Althoff finished with 26 shots on goal.
“Althoff's a good team,” Duncan said. “They've got an excellent midfield. They've got two speedy forwards. I knew they were going to put pressure on us.”
The Althoff pressure led to an early goal eight minutes into action. Hayden Buss found Donovan Gagen, who scored the first of his three in the match.
Mt. Vernon bounced back and responded with an equalizer just five minutes later. Josh Cortez slid a through ball behind the Althoff defense. Mac Jones broke free and finished off his break away with a goal.
“Cortez did exactly what we were trying to do,” Duncan said. “Mac makes that perfect run.”
It was Mt. Vernon's only shot on goal in the game.
The Crusaders controlled the game after the Rams goal and scored four straight times. With 24 minutes left in the opening half, Gagen tallied another goal. The critical score came with about 90 seconds before halftime. J.J. Wiegel broke out of his goal mouth and tried to grab a loose ball bouncing in the box. He wasn't able to corral it, and Althoff's Evan Toennies banged a shot into the net to give the Crusaders a 3-1 edge.
Althoff added a pair of goals in the second half. Gagen finished his hat trick with a chip over Wiegel with 15 minutes left in the game.
Wiegel finished the game with 12 saves for the Rams.