ROSE HILL – It was another sterling performance by the Rose Hill Rocket soccer team on Thursday night on their home field as they battled the visiting Buhler Crusaders. The Rockets were coming off an impressive 4-0 road shutout of McPherson on Tuesday.
The match with Buhler was in doubt most of the way in terms of the score, but the Rockets dictated the pace and held the majority of the possession which eventually broke the Crusaders down. Senior Drew Leck was a force in the midfield, tallying a pair of goals to lead the way in a 3-0 win.
Both teams found some attacking opportunities early on, and then the Rockets began to assert themselves after 15 minutes of play.
The first real dangerous chance came when star striker Caden Dinkel narrowly missed a shot just right of goal. But moments later, the Rockets formed another attack. The ball found Drew Leck in the box and he placed a firm kick that flew past Buhler keeper Jax Frederick into goal for a 1-0 Rose Hill lead.
Buhler nearly equalized at the half hour mark as Kaden Polk found himself with the ball and one-on-one with Rocket keeper Temo Luna-Berumen. But Luna-Berumen made an outstanding save of a low shot from Polk.
"He’s come a long ways," Rose Hill coach Jerry Treat said of Luna-Berumen. "He’s only a two-year player, and one year as a goalkeeper. So for him to make that play, that probably boosted his confidence."
The Rockets threatened often as the first half wound down. Leck was right in the middle of it, often dispossessing the Crusaders and setting up breakaway opportunities, though Rose Hill was not able to cash in to add to the lead. Treat heaped praise upon his midfielder afterwards.
"(Leck)’s an incredible player," Treat said. "He gets all the loose balls, controls the game, he allows the team to push up and he’s got great vision on the ball."
Rose Hill began the second half with a sense of urgency, knowing a Buhler goal would level the match. They kept in the ball in the Crusaders’ own half nearly the entirety of the opening 20 minutes of the half. That ultimately led to an opportunity for sophomore Andruw Weeks who delivered a perfect strike from 25 yards straight away and the Rockets led 2-0 in the 56th minute.
Buhler threatened again in the 61st minute, but once again, Luna-Berumen stepped up and knocked away a free kick. The ball came to another Crusader at close range but the rebound shot was well over the crossbar.
Rose Hill effectively put the game away in the 70th minute when Leck and Dinkel worked in perfect harmony. Coming down the left sideline, Leck slotted a pass to Dinkel who held up momentarily, then led Leck perfectly with a pass and Leck with his left foot scooted a shot that deflected off the fingertips of Frederick and into goal for a three-goal cushion.
It took some time, but the Rockets had finally assured themselves of victory.
"We came together," Treat said. "We started talking more and supporting each other. We were strong in the back, and we had some guys that stepped it up tonight that haven’t in the past. We’re really starting to come together as a team."
The Rockets are now sporting a 9-1 record after their second win over Buhler this season. The first came in the Goddard Tournament on September 10, also by a 3-0 score. Including that contest and every one since for Rose Hill, the Rockets have only conceded one goal, and have outscored their opposition 34-1.
The Rockets will next take on Winfield, who was defeated soundly by Augusta, 10-0 on Thursday. Rose Hill also owns a win already this season over the Vikings, defeating them 5-0 on September 12.
Buhler 0;0 - 0
Rose Hill 1;2 - 3