WATERLOO — Thursday’s showdown between top 10 boys’ soccer rivals Waterloo Columbus and Hudson had all the makings of a classic.
The Sailors had other ideas as they raced away with a 4-1 victory.
“We got a reality check tonight,” said Hudson coach Sue Rink. “We are still trying to decipher what just happened out there and it came down to us taking a good hard smack in the face.
“We did not play mentally tough and I feel we failed in that part of the game tonight.”
The Pirates (7-1) missed an early opportunity when Richie Arteaga’s header went a little wide.
Moments later, the Sailors (6-1) connected on a header attempt when Daniel Pranger out-j umped everyone on a corner kick from Justin Stover, and put a perfect shot past Pirates keeper Alex Reynolds.
Moments later Columbus junior Sawwin Lin used his body to block a shot, with the rebound falling at Nga Reh’s feet. Reh snaked around a couple of defenders and let a rocket fly that found its way to the back of the nylon for a 2-0 lead.
Lin then turned a free kick into an unusual goal when his curving shot caromed off the left post and into the right side of the net.
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“I just go after every ball like it is 0-0,” said Lin. “When I blocked the ball to Nga I knew where he was at, but we got lucky with the bounce. When I saw him take it I knew he could score.
“We have so many guys that can score, whereas other teams only have a few. We practice fast and hard and bring that to the game.”
Down 3-0, Hudson’s Alec Staebell stole the ball and raced past two defenders to get the Pirates on the board in the 38th minute.
“We knew that Hudson had great athletes and we could not give them anything,” said Columbus coach William Maletta. “We had to remind our guys to settle down and come back and play our game.
“We are building this team to handle these situations with confidence like the good teams in the state ... like Regina and even Hudson. We don’t just expect to win, we go out and show we can win.”
Senior Michael Pranger sealed the deal in the 59th minute as he drilled a shot from 30 yards out just over Reynolds reach for a 4-1 edge.
“We have a lot of talent on this team and we make it hard for teams to try and break us down,” Maletta said. “Our defense is our strength, but we have a lot of speed on the other end with Lin and Reh. Lin is special. The kid lives this game and was meant to play soccer. He is fun to watch.”