Jets overcome slow start, top Crusaders

HOPE — A Columbus Christian soccer team that came into Thursday’s game with the minimum 11 players put a shock into Hauser for a half.

The second half, however, the Jets began to wear down the Crusaders. Hauser scored five unanswered goals in the final 40 minutes to rally for a 6-2 victory.

“It was a very slow start,” Hauser coach Andy Hunnicutt said. “I think No. 1, we started passing and playing better; and No. 2, quite frankly, they got tired. We started playing better in the second half.”

Joe Sweet netted three of the Jets’ second half scores. His goal in the 46th minute tied the game at 2-2, and his second goal in the 55th minute gave them the lead.

Andrew Titus gave Hauser (2-3-2) some breathing room when he knocked one in off the bottom of the crossbar in the 58th minute. Justin Stafford added a score on the 76th minute, and Sweet finished off the scoring with a goal in the 78th minute.

“During halftime, coach gave us a little motivational talk,” Sweet said. “We kind of overlooked them in the first half for only having 11, but they came out and gave a great effort, so we had to come back and counter in the second half with everything we had. I definitely think they got a little tired there toward the end.”

Columbus Christian (1-5-1) has 16 players on its roster, but was missing three because of injuries and two because of grades. The Jets, meanwhile, were missing two injured starting defenders but played all 22 people they had in uniform.

Hauser did get on the board first when Micah Walker struck less than a minute-and-a-half into the game. But a little more than a minute later, Kyle Foster connected for the Crusaders to tie the game.

C.J. Reed gave the Crusaders the lead with a goal in the 21st minute. Hauser had some prime opportunities late in the first half, but freshman Garrett Spurgeon kept turning them away, and Columbus Christian held onto the lead.

“Honestly, I wasn’t too surprised,” Columbus Christian coach Jessica Decker said. “If this team works as a team, they can go against any other team and are a very strong team. I think we just ran out of steam in the second half, and that was the only reason we lost today.”

Sweet, Walker, Paul Cordero, Titus and Erin Newcomb all had assists for the Jets, who outshot the Crusaders 36-9 and put 19 shots on goal to seven for Columbus Christian.

Spurgeon finished with 13 saves for the Crusaders. Kameron Lawson recorded five saves for Hauser.

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.