By Craig Vonder Haar

Missourian Sports Writer

With the game tied in the final minutes of the second half, Jordan Miller and the Borgia Knights pushed ahead with a game-winning goal.

Miller scored with 4:25 remaining on the clock, his second goal of the game, to break a tie and give the Knights a 3-2 soccer victory Saturday at Washington High School.

“As usual, Coach (Ted) Brinker had his team well-prepared. Washington played with tremendous heart, and the game was very competitive,” said Borgia Head Coach Grant Kang. “The game was thrilling to the last minute and another fine example of the annual soccer series between these two great teams.”

The Blue Jays (5-10-1) were one player down for the final 11 minutes of the match after receiving a red card.

“Over the past few years, these games have turned into a healthy, competitive rivalry,” said Washington Head Coach Ted Brinker. “It was another good game between the two teams.”

Borgia (9-2) scored the game-winning goal on a shot that was partially blocked by Washington goalie Matt McKeever and deflected barely past the goal line.

McKeever protested the call, saying the ball did not cross the line, but to no avail. The referee ruled it a goal.

“A ball was crossed by Borgia and after a scramble in the box, their player put it toward the net. The referee called it a goal from 20 yards away,” Brinker said. “Their players were saying that it crossed the line and our players were saying that it didn’t. Either way, it was a great play from the Borgia forward and my goalkeeper.”

Kang had a similar take of the winning goal.

“Jordan Miller stepped up and scored off a shot that Matt McKeever was screened from seeing until the last minute. Still, Matt was able to stop the ball near the goal line, and the official ruled the ball passed over the goal line and called it a goal,” Kang said. “While the official’s call was immediate and confident, I learned later that some players thought that the ball had not completely crossed the goal line.”

Borgia held a 2-0 lead at halftime.

Jake Erwin gave the Knights a 1-0 advantage in the 10th minute on a shot from 20 yards away.

Borgia struck again when Miller found the back of the net in the 26th minute to make the score 2-0.

It took Washington only eight minutes to tie the game in the second half.

In the 45th minute, Cameron Bunkley blasted a goal off a free kick from 30 yards out to put Washington on the scoreboard, 2-1.

Just three minutes later, in the 48th minute, Bunkley sent another ball off a free kick into the box, which was knocked into the net by Aaron Meyer to tie the contest, 2-2.

“At halftime, I warned the team that the officials were calling touch fouls, and to avoid giving up needless fouls by avoiding placing hands on opponents. Unfortunately, we were not able to make the adjustment and continued to give up free kicks,” Kang said. “In the second half, Washington took advantage of their opportunities and scored two goals on very well-taken free kicks.”

Bunkley played a major role in both of the Blue Jays’ goals.

“Cameron has been tremendous for us this year. He never takes a second off, either on the field or during practice. He trains hard and that dedication translates so well into his game play,” Brinker said. “He is a player who I love to have as a coach because he sets such a good example for other players. His play has been outstanding this year and it has become nearly impossible to take him off the field.”

Both teams had opportunities to take the lead while the score was tied 2-2 in the second half.

“With the game tied, both teams played with very high intensity,” Kang said.

The momentum swung back to Borgia’s side of the field after one of Washington’s players received a red card.

Borgia goalie Kelly Mauntel and Washington’s McKeever both made big saves during the match.

“The game was good for us. We saw that being down 2-0 to a very good, rival team isn’t something that deters us from playing harder,” Brinker said. “Our boys fought hard to stay in the game. It was good to see that at this point in the season, moving toward districts.”

Borgia won the junior varsity game over Washington, 1-0.