Ganard Orionzi had his reasons for keeping Roble Abader on the sideline for a good chunk of Tuesday’s boys soccer game against St. Cloud Tech.
The St. Cloud Apollo coach said Roble, a senior forward, sometimes sacrifices other elements of his game to go for the net and score the big goals.
“He wanted so badly to get in the game but I told him I can’t put 12 people in there, only 11,” Orionzi said. “There’s not as much teamwork from him. When he gets the ball, he doesn’t look to the sides.
“Sometimes we have to pull him out and see what we can do differently.”
Orionzi played Abader most of the second half, Abader did go for the net and he did score the big goals to help the Eagles hand Tech its first loss of the season.
Apollo rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Tigers 3-2 in extra time at Michie Field.
Abader scored Apollo’s first goal and the game-winner with 34.7 seconds left in extra time.
“I’ve never scored in extra time before but this is a precious moment in my life,” Abader said. “We had the last moments of the game to put it in the back of the net and we finally did.”
Tech’s Brandon From scored 3:48 into the game and Moulid Kenyan put the Tigers up 2-0 12:48 into the second half.
As the Tigers kept the Eagles off the board into the second half, Apollo forward Abdiaziz Hundule tried to beat Tech goalkeeper David Scharenbroich to a loose ball.
Hundule clipped Scharenbroich’s nose with his cleat as he leapt to avoid the Tigers keeper, sidelining Scharenboich for 10 minutes to clean up his bloody nose.
Abader scored his first goal in Scharenbroich’s absence, outrunning the Tigers defense on a long outlet pass and putting the ball past Tech’s backup keeper, freshman Bryan Helminick.
“Our players were constantly scared of Tech in terms of Tech’s experience,” Orionzi said. “All I needed was to get them through the first half and build their confidence.”
The Eagles could’ve gotten on the board earlier in the game and could’ve taken the lead in regulation if not for all their shots that clanked off the posts and crossbar.
Hundule hit the post twice in the first half, Abidiaziz Hilowo hit one and Kevin Argueta missed high with Apollo down one goal.
Hundule created most of Apollo’s offensive opportunities for a majority of the game. With 12:35 left in regulation and Tech leading 2-1, he was tripped as he entered the goal box and a penalty kick was called.
“(Hundule) has the foot skills and the speed and that’s what he relies on,” Orionzi said. “There was intentional design to tire the Tech defense by using him a lot.”
Aidan Sim-Campos took the penalty kick and beat Scharenbroich low on the right side to tie the game.
Abader hit the cross bar with three minutes remaining in the second half, as he dribbled in alone from the left side.
He got another chance in the second period of extra time, as Tech and Apollo appeared to be headed for a tie.
Ali Gelani brought the ball up the right side and crossed it to the goal mouth, where Abader was able to slide it past Scharenbroich with 34.7 seconds left.
“This was Tech’s best team they’ve had in our generation but it was a very hard game,” Abader said. “The first half, we were kind of down but we played a perfect game in the second half. I’m so proud of my teammates.”
Tuesday’s win was Apollo’s sixth straight against Tech going back to Sept. 2, 2010.