The Pacific Indians took the first step in their bid to repeat as Four Rivers Conference soccer champions Wednesday.
Pacific (1-1, 1-0) started its conference schedule with a 5-1 home win against St. Clair (0-2, 0-1).
The teams exchanged goals before Pacific added a go-ahead score with just 6:27 remaining in the first half and then added another score in the final two minutes to take a 3-1 advantage into the half.
Pacific recorded the only two scores of the second half.
“To get that first win of the season, I think it’ll help these guys build confidence going forward,” Pacific Head Coach Jesse Knott said. “We had a tough loss last night against a good Rolla team, so I was interested to see how they would bounce back from it and they did pretty well. (We had) a lot more movement of the ball, a lot more confidence by the younger guys stepping up at the varsity level.”
St. Clair Head Coach Ted Brinker said his team responded positively in the contest after a tough loss at Fredericktown the previous night.
“I thought we came out well after a tough first game and played well,” Brinker said.
Jacob Sauvage scored a brace for the Indians. Lucas Goughenour, Dominic Curry and Blake Bearden scored one goal apiece.
The Indians gained the majority of their goals on second-chance opportunities.
“Our forwards, they’re both juniors, so they know the routine of every shot (that) they need to be crashing the net and you could definitely see their experience pay off tonight with every time that ball was on target, they were crashing the net,” Knott said. “We had great play with our midfield switching things up a little bit. It helped up move the ball around a lot more effectively and get it out to the wings who were playing out wide rather than pushing in the middle.”
Curry assisted on two of the Pacific goals. Sauvage, Cade Bell and Geoffrey Hayden each picked up an assist.
Goalkeeper Bailey Hoehne recorded the win with seven saves in eight attempts.
Freshman Austin Dunn scored the only goal for the Bulldogs, his second goal of the season in as many games. Noah Richardson got the assist.
Sophomore goalkeeper Collin Thacker recorded 11 of his 16 save opportunities.
“He made some really good saves and his reflexes are quick,” Brinker said. “He’s just got to hang onto the ball here or there a little bit more and that’s something that’s easy to fix. He’s making big saves for us and keeping us in games, so it’s fun to watch. Dakota (Romanoskie), our senior, he’s not eligible yet. He’s got to finish those practices up, but Collin’s making it a tough decision.”
The Indians next play at home in the Pacific Tournament, which begins Tuesday. St. Clair continued conference play at home against Sullivan Thursday and next plays on the road at Fatima Tuesday at 5 p.m.