Archers Head Coach Tim Mosby made it abundantly clear in pregame that any success the Archers enjoyed during a 6-0 win over Crowder College in the regular season could be thrown out the window.
Despite that dominant performance, and a 15-win regular season, Mosby knew that Saturday’s Region XVI quarterfinal was sure to be a nip-and-tuck affair.
“It’s a new season now,” Mosby said. “They got some guys back from injury, and we know they’ll be ready.”
In the early moments Saturday, it appeared they may have been more ready than the Archers, who found themselves facing a penalty kick less than 10 minutes into the game. Freshman goaltender denied that kick with a diving save to his left, a save that reversed that early momentum into an eventual 2-1 Archers victory.
“The thing about Nick, he’s excellent in ‘PK’ situations in the playoffs,” Mosby said. “We see him in practice, and we saw him when he was in high school. He did it again today, and he allowed us to play our style in this game.”
Bertich’s role in Saturday’s game grew early in the first half, when sophomore sweeper Nick Hoeflinger left the game with a yellow card. Behind Bertich and the efforts of the Archers’ defensive unit, STLCC held Crowder scoreless until the 68th minute.
The Archers took a lead they would not relinquish in the 19th minute, when Matt Schneider delivered his 10th goal of the season. Freshman forward Dillon Smith punched home a penalty kick in the 63rd minute to provide the winning margin.
“It was a hard-fought regional playoff game, and it doesn’t matter if it’s the sixth seed against the number one seed, it’s always going to be a tight game,” Mosby said. “We knew it was going to be a close battle.”
With the win, the Archers will advance to the Region XVI semifinals at East Central on Tuesday. East Central earned their semifinal appearance with a 5-1 win over St. Charles on Saturday. The Archers posted a record of 0-1-1 against East Central. The two teams played to a 3-3 tie in their most recent meeting, on September 29.
Mike Duffy’s Bar and Grill Play of the Game
Nick Bertich’s first-half save on a penalty kick to preserve a 0-0 tie is today’s Duffy’s Play of the Game. Bertich, who reversed the game’s momentum with his diving stop, finished the day having saved four of Crowder’s five shots on goal.