BELLEVILLE - Belleville Mennonite found itself with a comfortable lead as the second half started. But things were beginning to tighten up between the Trojans and Forbes Road.
The Cardinals scored 10 minutes into the second half to get within two goals at 3-1. And Belleville Mennonite was not playing particularly well.
Then a second-half flurry of goals sparked by Andrew Miller and Noah Anders sent the Trojans to a comfortable 8-1 win over Forbes Road Monday in Belleville.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY?KREITZER
Belleville Mennonite’s Andrew Miller, center, takes a shot against Forbes Road keeper Mack Hawkins and defender J.J. Martz (2) Monday afternoon in Belleville. The Trojans scored five second-half goals in the 8-1 win. See more photos online at cu.lewistownsentinel.com.
It looked as if the Trojans were going to cruise to an easy win in preparation to its District 6 playoff run starting next week. But things weren't easy.
"I had to challenge them again at halftime," Belleville Mennonite coach Brian Renno said. "We were up but I thought we played OK in the second half. That should have never developed though."
Earlier in the season, Belleville Mennonite dropped its first game with Forbes Road by a score of 1-0. In that game, the Trojans outshot Forbes Road 23-6. And with Belleville Mennonite getting as many shots this time around, something had to give.
*BMS hosts Harrisburg Academy today
Miller scored the first of his two goals fewer than two minutes into the game. And by the time intermission came around, Austin Byler and Alex Suydam each found twine to increase the Belleville Mennonite lead to 3-0.
But following the intermission, the Trojans came out flat and were playing dry soccer.
Eleven minutes into the second half, Forbes Road's Casey Wade was left alone in front of the Belleville Mennonite net and got the Cardinals on the board.
"Maybe we needed them to score to get us going," Renno said.
That's exactly what happened. It took some time, but the Trojans finally got things going again when Miller was the beneficiary of some nice footwork by Anders. He took the ball baseline and held possession until Miller could find space in front of the net. Once Anders sent it across, Miller did the rest.
"Anders' second halves have been at a different level," Renno said. "He's been a generator to get us going. His intensity and hustle is kind of contagious."
That intensity and hustle got Anders on the Trojans on the board again just over a minute later. Jung Kim played a service to the corner to Anders. The Trojan freshman did the rest to give Belleville Mennonite a more comfortable 5-1 lead with 16 minutes to play.
"Once we got one in the second half there would be more coming," Renno said.
And that may have been an understatement from the Trojan coach.
Belleville Mennonite was able to add three more goals in the final 15 minutes to get serious revenge on the earlier loss.
One minute after Anders' goal, Kim made the next goal look easy after fielding a pass from Byler. And it didn't take long for the Trojans to stop the clock again.
Anders and Kim traded goals in the final 10 minutes of play to completely seal a win for Belleville Mennonite. Sam Morgan had the assists on the final two goals.
"Sam Morgan - it's good to have him 100 percent," Renno said. "This is the first game he had considerable minutes. He maintains possession and communicates well."
Renno and the Trojans will travel to Johnstown to take on Bishop McCort Oct. 30 in the District 6 Class A semifinals. Prior to the trip west, Belleville Mennonite will get some more practice as it hosts Harrisburg Academy this afternoon.
"Our next goal is district play," Renno said. "We need to maintain a high level of intensity going into that."