When Christian Brothers College forward Julius Adewunmi saw an open avenue to the goal, he knew he needed to take advantage. Adewunmi said he assumed it would be his only scoring chance in a Missouri Class 3 state semifinal soccer game against Rockhurst.
He was right. It was also the only one he needed.
Adewunmi buried one of the game’s few quality chances Friday night, lifting CBC to a 1-0 victory and a spot in Saturday’s Class 3 final, scheduled for 4 p.m. at Blue Springs South. Rockhurst, making its ninth state tournament appearance in the past 11 years, will play for third place at 10 a.m.
In providing the only score of the game in the 72nd minute, Adewunmi took advantage of a high bounce off the turf and used his right foot to tap a shot to the right corner past a sliding Garrett Loehr, Rockhurst’s keeper, who had come out from the line to challenge in a one-on-one situation.
“I’ve scored a couple of goals like that this year,” Adewunmi said. “It’s actually easy to place when you get that situation, I think. I have a knack for that.”
It was the offensive highlight in a game otherwise dominated by a pair of quality defenses which were playing at their best Friday evening.
Rockhurst, 19-10-1, was held to two shots on goal, though it forced CBC, 25-5-1, to withstand a late flurry that included three corner kicks in the final 3 minutes.
“When you get to the final four, it’s going to be tight defensively,” Rockhurst coach Chris Lawson said. “You have to take the shots you get, and I don’t think we took the shots we had.
“But our kids really played well. We gave ourselves a chance to win. We made one mistake, and good teams will make you pay.”
Smithville to play for third
A supposed defensive battle in the Class 2 state semifinals — that’s what both teams prepared for anyway — produced more offensive flare than the tournament has seen in three years.
That spelled good news for St. Dominic’s Conor Baker. A junior forward, Baker headed in a game-winning goal in sudden-death overtime Friday to lead St. Dominic past Smithville, 4-3, and into the Class 2 state title match.
Smithville, 23-4, will play for third place at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Blue Springs High School. After allowing only 13 goals in 26 games, Smithville allowed four for the first time this year, making for the highest scoring game in the Class 2 state tournament since 2009.
“It was an epic battle between two powerhouse teams,” Smithville coach Jon Reed said. “I would’ve never guessed a 4-3 game. I would’ve guessed something more like 1-0.”
The two teams surpassed that number by plenty before halftime. St. Dominic never trailed, but Smithville erased each of St. Dominic’s first three one-goal leads.
The third comeback — completed on Marco Quattrocolo’s score midway through the second half — sent the game to overtime. Baker scored his second goal of the game 12 minutes into the overtime.
“I think fatigue and cramping creeped in a little bit,” Reed said. “You could tell we were spent. Everyone had played a lot of minutes.”
Baker opened the scoring 11 minutes into the first half, but Smithville defender Daniel Parker scored a rebound chance 7 minutes later.
Dominic Recca and Andrew Rapp added goals before halftime for St. Dominic, 21-6, with a score from Smithville midfielder Tylor Mensik sandwiched between the two.