FENTON – In the aftermath of Monett’s 4-0 loss to John Burroughs in the Class 2 state championship game Saturday at Worldwide Technologies Soccer Park, it was hard for Cubs senior defender Juan Salas to remain composed.
After all, Burroughs scored early and often against the seemingly beleaguered Monett defense.
“We all knew they were good,” Salas said. “We just didn’t expect them to score four. They got the lead and we just couldn’t get it back. We were just unlucky today.”
Just 13 minutes into play, Burroughs (20-4) began its onslaught on the way to winning its third state title.
That’s when Bombers senior forward Ian Bradley emerged from a crowd in front of the Monett goal and knocked the ball home. The tally immediately had Burroughs coach Alan Trzecki feeling good. He said he felt a composed team could easily control things, as the Bombers did.
“To get a goal early, I think, helped settle us down,” Trzecki said. “We talked about what it would feel like to get a lead. I think we responded.”
That response came quickly as Burroughs doubled the lead.
In the 20th, Burroughs senior midfielder Aliff Rush found the net.
He picked up a loose ball in the goal mouth and made it look easy, knocking the ball into the net for the 2-0 lead.
“Monett had some three-star players, but it wasn’t anything we hadn’t seen before,” Rush said. “We knew, going in, that we had to give it 100 percent. That all we could do. That’s what helped us get ahead and stay there.”
Monett (19-7-1) put a scare into the Bombers late in the first half.
With nine minutes left in the half, Cubs junior midfielder Adrian Moncivaiz rang a shot off the post.
Early in the second half, Monett also nearly struck.
In the 57th, a pass was returned to sophomore forward Jason Puente and Puente’s effort was corralled by Burroughs’ diving senior keeper Charles Wunderlich. The continued effort in the face of a huge deficit pleased Cubs coach Cristobal Villa.
“We didn’t give up and we kept fighting against a good team like that,” Villa said. “We were trying to look for it (a goal) but they got the third one and that hurt us.”
In the second half, Rush did it again.
Rush helped, effectively, break the Cubs backs with a goal on a Burroughs counter attack in the 43rd minute to make it 3-0.
A goal by junior forward Josh Worsham in the 66th on a breakaway off a Bombers counter attack finished the scoring at 4-0.
Villa said that, even in the face of the loss which gave the Cubs its first state trophy, he was proud of the Cubs and the Monett community for supporting the program.
“I’m very proud, very proud,” Villa said. “It just shows how close our community is. We couldn’t believe it. It’s amazing. It meant a lot to us to have all of the support that we have had here.”