Ballard soccer team beats St. X 1-0 on Monheimer's goal

Ballard soccer team beats St. X 1-0 on Monheimer's goal

Boys Soccer

Ballard soccer team beats St. X 1-0 on Monheimer's goal

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St. Xavier had dominated the recent rivalry between the two most decorated boys’ soccer programs in state history, but Tucker Monheimer made sure the Tigers didn’t get the better of Ballard again.

The junior forward’s “professional finish” lifted the host Bruins to a 1-0 victory on a windy Wednesday night to end the 12-time state champion Tigers’ four-year reign over nine-time champ Ballard.

“It felt great finally beating the Tigers,” said Monheimer, who volleyed in Sam Blake’s cross in the 38th minute to give the Bruins their first victory over St. X since another 1-0 win on Oct. 6, 2010.

“That was a professional finish by Tucker,” St. X coach Andy Schulten said.

Monheimer’s goal was the difference in a matchup of top-10 teams off to contrasting starts. Ballard (7-1-1), which is No. 4 in the Maher Rankings, has its best nine-game record in more than a decade. The Bruins’ lone loss, 1-0 at Floyd Central in their season opener, was the result of an own goal.

“It’s a good start, but it’s just September,” said coach Rob Zoeller, whose team has outscored its first nine opponents 28-4. “But nobody remembers what you do in September. It’s about what you do in October and November, and that’s what we working toward.”


Ballard High School’s Martin Bester (7) battles for the ball with St. Xavier High School’s Colin Kremer (19) during their game at Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky. September 10, 2014

Meanwhile seventh-ranked St. X (1-4-2) is off to its slowest start in at least 15 years (as far back as the KHSAA’s scoreboard page goes).

“You can’t win if you can’t score. We’ve been shut out more times this year than we have the last six, seven or eight years, and it’s still early,” said Schulten, whose team has been outscored 9-4 through its first seven games. “We’ve got enough talent. We just have to put the ball in the goal. It’s just taking awhile.”

The Tigers had beaten Ballard four straight times, including twice last year (4-1 early in the season and 3-0 in the Seventh Region Tournament semifinals), by outscoring the Bruins 16-2.

Monheimer, who now has nine goals in nine games, nearly got the home team on the scoreboard in the third minute, but St. X goalie Alex Popovich was able to deflect his shot away.

The Bruins continued to put the pressure on Popovich and the Tigers until a little less than three minutes remained in the first half. That’s when Blake lofted a pass to the far post, where a streaking Monheimer volleyed the feed into the back of the net.

Ballard had ample opportunities to add to its lead, as it outshot St. X 16-6. Zachary Brooks and Andres Perez combined for the shutout in goal for the Bruins.

“I’m not disappointed if it takes a professional goal to beat us; that’s fine,” Schulten said.

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Ballard soccer team beats St. X 1-0 on Monheimer's goal
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