Flashes pick up crucial win over Park Place
Published 9:35 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023
Some of the shots St. Aloysius took were too soft. Some of their shots were too hard.
Finally, the one Corbin Burroughs took was juuuusssttt right.
Burroughs one-timed a pass from Thomas Dowe into the net three minutes into the second half. It was the only goal the Flashes scored on 14 shots, and stood up as the only one in the game as they defeated Park Place 1-0 on Thursday.
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The victory kept St. Al’s hopes of qualifying for the MAIS Division II boys soccer playoffs alive. It will need to beat Central Hinds in its regular-season finale on Feb. 6 at Sports Force Parks to advance.
“That’s what I want. Pretty sure that’s what the team wants also,” Burroughs said. “We’re ready to win in the playoffs. We’ve got a young team and we’re ready for wins.”
Although they only scored the one goal, the Flashes largely dominated in all phases against Park Place. They generated scoring chances all game long, and quickly cleared most of the balls that made it deep into their defensive end and broke up developing plays. On the handful of occasions that Park Place did get a shot off, keeper Caleb Tucker was a wall on the back end. He made seven saves.
“Our two midfielders, James Powell and Eli Shiers, controlled the center of the field,” St. Al coach Jay Madison said. “Any ball that was played back, they were there to challenge it or to win it. If the defenders played it back this way they were there to challenge it or win it. A lot of kudos to them. They did a good job.”
Only some outstanding play by Park Place keeper Braden Shaw and some bad luck kept St. Al from blowing the game open.
John Ellis Montgomery hit the left post on a penalty kick midway through the first half. The ball caromed back into the field and across to the right side of the box, where Burroughs got off a quick shot that Shaw swallowed up.
Shaw deflected another shot that appeared headed in earlier in the half. Another shot went a foot wide of the net, and yet another a foot over it.
“Some of that is being a young team,” said Madison, who has six sophomores in the starting lineup. “Next year and the year after that, these guys will put those balls away and we’re up 2-0 or 3-0 and comfortably taking a win. Now it’s just a struggle because they’re so young.”
The game was still scoreless at halftime, but it didn’t stay that way much longer.
In the 43rd minute, a defensive stop was played to Dowe just across midfield. He dribbled up the left side and threaded a perfect cross to Burroughs, who slid into it and sent a hard shot past Shaw to break the stalemate.
“It wasn’t just Thomas. It was the entire team,” Burroughs said. “It went from the midfield to the end, out and then across, and it was me just poking it in. That’s all it was.”
St. Al continued to control the flow of the game until the last few minutes, when Park Place pushed hard for the tying goal that would have kept its own playoff hopes alive. At one point, Shaw even left the keeper’s box to play on the offensive end.
Tucker made two saves in the last two minutes to preserve the shutout, however, and when the dust settled the Flashes were the ones still with a pulse.
Madison said the overall effort was one of his team’s best of the season. He’s hopeful they can maintain the momentum during the 11-day layoff leading up the showdown against Central Hinds.
“We’re trying to put it together. Obviously it’s not how you start, because this team has had some challenges and dropped some games,” Madison said. “We had a stretch there where John Ellis (Montgomery) hit the post something like 10 times in five games. As they get older or as you go further along in the season he may score five of those. The pendulum turns a little bit. We’re just going to try to get ready for (Central Hinds).”