Bolivar entered the evening with a record of 6-0 and on the brink of entering the top 10 of the class 2 state rankings. Hillcrest entered the match with a mark of 2-4, but they had been showing promising signs that they were a much improved club from 2011.
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Bolivar started the game off on the attack. Led by top goal scorer Josh Condren, the Liberators looked to get on top in the first five minutes of the game with numerous aggressive offensive efforts. Goal keeper Caleb Boston was able to deflect these early efforts and settle his team down enough to run their game plan.
The majority of the rest of the first period took place in the middle of the field. Hillcrest was able to move the ball into threatening territory a few times, but never able to get a good shot off.
The Liberators most promising offensive effort came near the end of the half when a Josh Condren shot ricocheted off of the left goal post.
Hillcrest came into the second half with an aggressive effort to break the stalemate. Junior forward Ngozi Gregory brought the ball down near the Bolivar goal several times, but was unable to put it in the back of the net.
Bolivar head coach Steve Fast notes several adjustments that his team had to make during the game to spoil the Hillcrest fast break.
“They were quick to transition out, we had to drop back and deny (Boston) the quick throws and quick punts,” Fast said.
“We had to try and get the ball wide, instead of up the gut where everyone was at.”
Regulation came to a close with the teams knotted at 0.
The defensive spectacle continued in the first overtime as neither team was able to move the ball to a position for a threatening shot.
Bolivar wasted no time initiating their attack in the second overtime. The Liberators immediately commanded the ball from midfield and progressed towards the Hillcrest goal. With 8:30 left, team captain Josh Condren took it from the top of the penalty ark on in past Boston for the game winning goal, fending off Austin Straight most of the way.
Hillcrest ultimately fell short, but certainly earned respect with the way they performed against a talented squad. Their next match will be next Tuesday (9/18) at Camdenton.
Bolivar hosts a tournament this weekend and then heads to Catholic next Tuesday for what coach Fast believes will be one of the toughest games on the schedule.