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Boys soccer: Trojans defense steps up in win over St. Peter

ST. PETER -- Remembering its history with St. Peter, Worthington kept its foot on the gas in the second half, picking up an 8-1 victory over the Saints on Tuesday.

ST. PETER -- Remembering its history with St. Peter, Worthington kept its foot on the gas in the second half, picking up an 8-1 victory over the Saints on Tuesday.

Last year, the Trojans took a 4-0 victory into halftime, but allowed five second-half goals and lost the game 5-4. This year was a different story. Worthington led 4-1 at halftime and added four more goals after the break.

“Tonight we had a 4-1 lead at half and I told the players it was not over,” Worthington head coach Smitty Ektnitphong said. “We needed to tighten our belt and continue what we did in the first half for the final 40 minutes. St. Peter is not a pushover. We had to go out there and take it to them. It’s satisfying to win against a good team like St. Peter convincingly.”

Offensively the Trojans started fast and kept the pact up all the way through. Anthony Euceda opened the scoring with an unassisted goal in the fifth minute. Jon Keoduangsy added one in the 15th minute and Victor Alvarez followed up a minute later in the 16th. Defenseman Chris Cerda scored Worthington’s fourth and final goal of the half with an unassisted goal in the 27th minute.

St. Peter’s only goal of the game came on a Daniel Nadeau penalty shot in the 33rd minute. The shot -- resulting from a Worthington handball in the box -- was the Saints’ only shot on goal in the half.

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Keoduangsy, Edwin Hernandez, Anthony Sanchez and Cerda all added second half goals for Worthington.

The Trojans defense stifled the St. Peter attack, which only added two more shots in the second half, but didn’t convert either into a goal. Worthington outshot St. Peter 24-3 in the game.

“The unit back there played a key role,” Ektnitphong said. “They were fighting for every ball, fighting for every cross and connecting with the midfield very well. Especially Octavio, tonight. He used his height to win some balls.”

Chris Cerda added an offensive element to Worthington’s back line, scoring two goals.

“Chris Certa,” Ektnitphong said. “What can you say. He scored two goals. As a sweeper, he played well and then the midfield awarded him with some shot opportunities and he converted.”

Worthington forward Ivan Rodriguez, usually a big goal scorer, was a marked man by St. Peter’s defense and used the attention to set up his teammates and tallied three assists.

“Everytime he got the ball, he was fighting through double teams and triple teams,” Ektnitphong said. “He knew that it doesn’t matter who scores, Worthington is going to be up one. Jon got a good set-up pass from him on a breakaway. As soon as he scored, he went and gave Ivan a high-five.”

Worthington is now 7-1 on the season, while St. Peter drops to 3-4.

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