Like most wearing the home white, Kyle Erickson figured Thursday was going to be a competitive evening on the soccer pitch.
“I honestly thought so, too,” the Sartell senior forward said.
But the Sabres picked a fine time to put together their best overall performance of the season. On a beautifully mild evening under the lights at the Sartell High School Field, Sartell looked sharp in all phases of its game to beat St. Cloud Tech 4-0.
“I honestly thought we played a very solid game all the way through,” Sartell senior forward Kellen Cameron said. “We played an overall great game.”
It was hard to argue. While Sartell leads the Central Lakes Conference with a 7-0-1 record and is 9-2-1 overall, Tech came into the match with one conference loss.
The Tigers leave 4-2-1 in the CLC, 8-2-2 overall and a little stunned by Thursday’s outcome.
“I’ve seen Sartell play and they brought their ‘A’ game today,” Tech head coach Nantha Viswanathan said. “Hats off to them.
“They did a fantastic job … They came out firing on all cylinders and caught us off guard.”
Sartell got two goals apiece from Cameron and Erickson. The Sabres opened the scoring with 22:27 to go in the first half. Cameron kicked in a rebound.
“It was fun watching them play,” Viswanathan said of the Sabres. “They played a very good passing game and we’re a good passing team.
“The kids are sad, but we move on.”
Erickson then kicked in the next goal in front of the net, sticking it in the upper left corner afer getting a pass from Cullen Chisholm with 18:08 to go in the half.
Tech had its moments after that in the first 40 minutes, but the second half really was all Sartell, especially early.
“I thought we played well,” senior Zach Spanier said. “It was a great team effort.
“The forwards got the goals, the midfielders got it to the forwards and the defenders did their job, the goalkeeper was outstanding … and we’ve got a great sweeper (Zach Jacobson), too.”
Spanier said head coach Matt Hager challenged the Sabres to maintain their level of play, to play like they were down by a goal instead of up by two.
They certainly did.
“We came out with a lot of intensity,” Erickson said.
Cameron scored with 31:14 to go with an assist to Erickson.
Erickson eventually put an exclamation point on the evening with a breakaway goal with 3:23 to play. Cameron got the assist.
“I thought that was our best game of the season,” Cameron said. “It was a really good win for us.”
Sartell recorded 27 shots to Tech’s four. Sophomore goalkeeper Colin Johnson made three saves for the shutout, Sartell’s fifth of the season.
Tech senior goalkeeper David Scharenbroich made a dozen saves as Sartell’s attack seemed relentless. The Sabres had six corner kicks to Tech’s one.
“We walked about it at halftime,” Hager said. “Tech has been in this situation (down two goals) before. Tech is a very good team.
“They can come back. We need to come out fired up and not sit on a 2-0 lead, not against a good team like that.”
The victory puts the Sabres in the driver’s seat in the conference with three CLC games left. But first, Sartell plays at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bemidji.
Tech plays Moorhead at 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Cloud State.