Soccer team triumphs over cross-town rival

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Daphne Yu

face-off
Photo by Daphne Yu

After storm clouds left Columbia Wednesday afternoon today, Sept. 26, the Bruin soccer team’s presence on Hickman’s field churned up another whirlwind. The RBHS boys (7-3-1) battled the Kewpies (4-5-2) on enemy territory and came home with a 3-1 victory.
The win against the cross-town rival comes on the heels of a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Hickman at last Friday’s Providence Bowl, but tonight made the loss a little easier for the team.
The triumph brought “a little bit of redemption,” said senior Eli Sherman, team captain and center midfielder. “We knew [Hickman] would come in here wanting another win to boost their school spirit, but we knew that wasn’t going to happen.”
Bruins took an early lead, which they never relinquished, in the first half when senior striker and wing midfielder Ryan Stanowski made a goal 13 minutes in. A goal from freshman striker and wing midfielder Tarnue Tyler with 11 minutes left put an exclamation point on the dominance the RBHS boys had on the field in the first half, where Bruin defense stayed strong and RBHS ended the half with a 2-0 lead.
“Our intensity helped us throughout the entire game,” said junior Salim Gumati, striker and center midfielder.
Hickman started the second half with a goal, pushing Rock Bridge to return strong. As the tension on the field inched up, both sides sustained casualties. Gumati walked off the field with an injured leg, while a referee sent senior Jordan Resike, team captain and defender, off the field with a red card. The physicality of the players showed with two additional yellow cards.
Junior Jacob Kovarik chases after Hickman midfielder Philos Twagirayezo for the ball.

But the Bruins were not leaving without a fight; freshman Brett Bales widened the Bruin lead by putting  in the final goal in with 12:48 left in the second half.
“After you get that third goal,” Gumati said, “the other team deflates, and there’s not many comebacks that come back.”
Sherman said the Bruin team knows when it squares up against the Kewpies, the guys are in for a battle.
“They show a lot of heart, I’d say,” Sherman said. “They give it their all every time. They didn’t show a lot of weaknesses tonight, and unfortunately, we weren’t able to really attack those.”
The Kewpie offense was focused, but Bruin keeper junior Greg Kelly had six saves, even falling over a Hickman player’s back to make one.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game, but we pushed through,” Sherman said. “It’ll teach us how to face adversity next time, especially in these heated rivalry battles we’ll know how to counteract the problems the other team will bring to us. We did really well on counterattacks. The minute we got the ball, we looked forward. We caught them off guard, and that’s how we got all three goals.”
The seniors saw tonight’s victory as a way to underscore the Bruin determination to come out on top whenever Kewpies are involved.
“All four years of playing RB soccer,” senior defender Jordan Reiske said, “I’ve never lost to Hickman: #ProudBruin.”
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By Daphne Yu
additional reporting by Lauren Jamison