WILDWOOD — All season long, the CBC boys soccer team felt an enormous weight on its shoulders. Not to repeat as state champions, but to earn career win No. 1,000 for their legendary coach Terry Michler.
So when the Cadets defeated Nixa in Jefferson City on October 19 to earn the milestone, they took a collective sigh of relief.
“(That win) took all the pressure off because we were the team expected to get him to 1,000 wins, so once we got that, all we had to do was focus on state,” senior Sam Benoist said.
And when their district championship match went into overtime in front of a huge crowd Wednesday night, the young Cadets felt no fear.
Riley Dubbs scored 26 seconds into the extra session as CBC knocked off Lafayette 1-0 in the Class 4 District 4 championship match at Lafayette High School.
The Cadets (14-10-2) will travel to Kirkwood for a sectional contest Tuesday.
Junior Ethan Mayo started the winning tally with a nifty cross to Dubbs, who was stationed a few feet above the penalty area. Dubbs ripped a shot at Lafayette goalkeeper CJ Jaggie, who made the initial save, but Dubbs kept coming.
“It hit off the goalie and came back to me and I made sure it went in the second time,” Dubbs said.
An overtime period did not seem likely as Lafayette turned around a sluggish first half with a dominant second half, winning 50-50 balls and controlling the midfield.
“We went at them for a good 30 or 40 minutes,” Lafayette coach Ryan Butchart said. “We play possession-based soccer, and we like to keep the ball, move it fast and generate chances and we did that.”
Lafayette senior Matt Kanan had the best chance to score as he found a loose ball near the right post, but an excellent save by CBC senior goalkeeper Riley Carron kept the match scoreless.
“I thought Lafayette had the better second half by far,” Michler said. “But, I told the kids, we’ve been in overtime games before where we had a good first half, bad second half, but a good first overtime, and that’s what we did.”
CBC was determined to have a good first half after surrendering a goal to Parkway West within the first 10 minutes of the district semifinal. In the seventh minute, Beniost dribbled through defenders and sent a slick pass into the box that Mayo back-heeled toward the open cage, but Lafayette goalkeeper CJ Jaggie dove to knock it aside.
Moments later, CBC sophomore Kaden Smith ripped a shot that Jaggie soared to tip inches over the crossbar.
“I just tried to stay focused. This was the biggest game of the year for me, so I just tried to keep my head on and react to everything,” Jaggie said.
Hemmed into its own zone, Lafayette tried to escape by hitting on long passes, but the CBC defense was ready and sent the ball right back into danger.
In the 28th minute, off a corner kick, sophomore Luca Bartoni found himself alone at the left post, but again Jaggie sprawled to keep it out of the goal. Four minutes later, senior Justin Tabb intercepted a pass and drilled a shot that Jaggie knocked away.
Jaggie made seven saves in the first half, many of the highlight-reel variety.
But as the half wore on, Lafayette (18-7-1) began to find its footing. In the 33rd minute, Lancers’ junior Kaden Smith sent a corner kick into the box that was directed towards an open net, but CBC senior Cade Walsh kicked it away from the goal inches before it crossed the line.
“Cade just flicked it out. Pure luck, but it saved us the game,” Bartoni said.
Two minutes later, Lafayette senior Michael Lang ripped a shot from distance that sailed just over the top of the cage.
The near-misses gave Lafayette the confidence to play an outstanding second half.
“We just had to hunker down, get through the (second) half and get it to overtime,” Bartoni said.
In this stretch that earned the 1,000th win for Michler, CBC has now won six in a row surrendering only a single goal in that span.
“Getting that win for coach, I think that put some fire in our step,” Dubbs said.