HOPE — After jumping out to a 4-0 lead against Trinity Lutheran on Thursday, Hauser boys soccer coach Andy Hunnicutt pulled his starters.
By the time some of the starters were reinserted, the Cougars had cut the lead in half.
Trinity added one more goal but couldn’t connect on the equalizer, and the Jets held on for a 4-3 victory.
“When they got the momentum and were coming back, I started reinserting some of the starters to try to get control of the game again,” Hunnicutt said. “But they still had the momentum and the wind, and they played very well in the second half. I don’t think we did as well, but we managed to hold on.”
The Jets (3-1) started fast. They put up two goals in the first four minutes and three in the first 9½ minutes.
Joe Sweet connected on the first goal off a pass from Cameron Hartog in the third minute. Less than a minute later, Dalton Moore scored off an assist from Andrew Titus.
“We played aggressive, and I thought we played pretty good,” Moore said. “Our defense was doing what they were supposed to be doing. Offense was getting out to the sides and crossing it.”
Moore scored his second goal and the team’s third in the 10th minute when he collected the rebound off his own missed shot and put one into the net.
The fourth goal came in the 28th minute when Kyler Davis scored off a pass from Titus.
“We came out playing the way we should play by getting it out to the sides and using our speed to our advantage, and it worked out for us that first half,” Titus said.
The Cougars (1-4) didn’t quit. AJ Goecker put Trinity on the board with a goal in the 47th minute.
The Cougars cut the lead to 4-2 in the 54th minute when Trent Shoemaker scored off an assist from Goecker.
“We’ve had a big problem so far this year with starting at the beginning of the game and coming out flat and coming out lazy and letting other teams kind of get the upper hand early on in the game,” Trinity coach Brandan Tabeling said. “It was nice in the second half to see them come out and get aggressive and kind of take it to the other team.”
After that, Hunnicutt reinserted most of his starters. Still, the Cougars made it a one-score game in the 76th minute on a goal from Kohei Nagino.
From there, Hauser was able to hold on.
“It was very nerve-racking,” Titus said. “We felt we had the game, and then we didn’t try as hard as we should have and then we found out that we needed to keep trying as the game goes on. We need to play as hard as we can any time of the day.”
The Jets outshot Trinity 18-13, but the Cougars put nine shots on goal to eight for Hauser. Pete Trotter recorded two saves in the first half for the Jets, and Cameron Lawson posted four saves in the second half.
Andrew Emily and Jacob Keith each played a half in goal for Trinity. Both recorded two saves.
“It was a tough loss,” Tabeling said. “The first half is nowhere near what we want our team to look like and be represented. They wait too long to get into that game mode and start attacking. It was good to see them come out and fight for themselves to get back in the game.”