As his team celebrated a berth in the Class-4-1A boys soccer tournament, Rose Hill coach Jerry Treat had a single message for his players before letting them enjoy a moment they had worked all season to have.
“We’re not done yet.”
Treat has Davin Harden to thank for that.
The junior struck home a right-footed volley from just inside the area with about 13 minutes left in the game to send Rose Hill past Trinity Academy 2-1 in a quarterfinal Tuesday night.
“It was the best feeling ever,” Harden said of the winner. “It just happened to come to me.”
It was far from the Rockets best night, with Trinity dominating the proceedings throughout stretches of the first half. The Knights controlled much of the possession and took an early lead after midfielder Ethan Brooks slotted the ball beautifully into the Rose Hill net after the Rockets failed to clear the ball inside the 18-yard box with 25:48 left to play in the half.
The hosts responded quickly, however, netting the equalizer within two minutes, after Logan Santo took Parker Smith’s pass and tucked it into the side netting of Trinity keeper Nicholas McKenzie’s goal.
The Rockets nearly added another quick goal minutes later, but Trinity defender Sam Runck managed to clear Chace Beckham’s effort off the line after Beckham had beaten McKenzie following Christian Helmke’s lofted cross.
From there the game fell into a rhythmic back-and-forth affair with both squads creating chances to start the second half but neither able to convert in front of goal until Harden seized his opportunity.
As Trinity attempted to clear the ball following a Rose Hill counter attack, Harden continued a run into the box to provide support for the Rockets. The Knights’ clearance fell to the junior and in one motion the midfielder smashed home the winner past an outstretched McKenzie to give the Rockets a 2-1 lead with 13:12 remaining.
“They finished their chances pure and simple,” Trinity coach Mark Brooks said. “We came so close.”
The Rockets dominated the final ten minutes of the contest, turning away the Trinity attack time after time as the Knights searched for the goal that would push the match into extra time. It never came, and last year’s state runner-up’s will get another crack at the Class-4-1A title that eluded them just a year ago.
“It is survive and move on,” Treat said. “You’re just happy to get a result.”
First half –Trinity: Brooks (unassisted), Rose Hill: Santos (Smith assist) Second half—Rose Hill: Harden (unassisted). Shots—Rose Hill 8-8—16, Trinity 7-6—13. Saves—Rose Hill, Stitcher 4-5—9; Trinity, McKenzie 5-6—11.