A day rarely passes without members of the Rockhurst High School soccer team being reminded of their program’s rich tradition.
The players know the numbers. Five state championships in the past 19 seasons. Three titles in the past six years.
And heading into the Missouri Class 3 semifinals, it would take only one victory to add to the history: The top three teams at state are awarded banners.
But that did not happen. Instead, Columbia Rock Bridge handed Rockhurst its second straight defeat on Saturday morning, a 3-1 loss in the third-place match. Rock Bridge, 22-8-1, scored twice in the second half to break a 1-1 tie.
“We were definitely disappointed after the loss (Friday) to (Christian Brothers College),” senior captain Robert Thompson said. “We wanted to end the season on a good note, so it’s again disappointing we didn’t come away with a win.”
A subpar second half prevented it. Rockhurst forward Alec Grawe scored his second goal of the season in the 19th minute to draw even in the first half, but it was all Rock Bridge after the break.
In the 60th minute, Rock Bridge was awarded a penalty kick when freshman Tamue Tyler, the team’s leading scorer, was taken out in the goalie box. William Sheehan buried the ensuing kick to give the Bruins a one-goal advantage.
Only 6 minutes later, Connor Blitz netted a rebound chance for a comfortable two-goal cushion.
For the second straight day, Rockhurst put together a late flurry, but it again came up short. The Hawklets, 19-11-1, attempted six shots in the second half, though Rock Bridge keeper Greg Kelly needed to make only one save.
“I thought our guys did a great job,” Rockhurst coach Chris Lawson said. “We have guys in the back that were pretty beat up and pretty sore, but they wanted to play (Saturday) because they’re the seniors that got us here.”
Lawson added: “We’re always defined by how we respond, and we’re going to come back and respond next year.”