BICKNELL — With a scrum in front of the North Knox goal in the 65th minute, Rivet's Drew Woodfork was the one to put the final boot to the ball, and his shot found the net to lift the Patriots to a 2-1 Blue Chip Conference boys soccer victory at North Knox on Tuesday.
Charlie Niehaus for Rivet (2-5-1, 1-2 Blue Chip) and Cole Jones for North Knox (1-5, 0-3) made unassisted goals in the first half to get the match to halftime tied, 1-1.
Both coaches admitted that the match could have gone either way. Rivet coach Thierry Schleiss gave Niehaus and Sabastien Hardin credit for setting up Woodfork's game-winner. He also gave a ton of credit to Jones' play in the first half.
“On the offensive side (we) started finding open space in their defense (in the second half),” he said. “After a nice combination between Charlie and Sabastien, the ball rolled across the front of the North Knox goal, and Drew pushed it across the line for the game-winning goal.
“(Jones) was really controlling the game for them in the first half, being the difference. In the second half we marked him tight, and it was mostly Drake Dunn that deserves the credit. He stepped up for us and made his presence felt. It could have gone either way, as there weren't many chances in the second half.”
Both teams had scoring chances early in the contest. Niehaus set up Ryan Nguyen with a nice cross in the seventh minute, but Nguyen was unable to finish. Three minutes later, Jones put a free kick on frame from over 30 yards out, but Rivet keeper Thomas Herman was there to receive it.
A few minutes later, Jones sprinted past the Rivet defense to earn a one-on-one with Herman, and the North Knox senior put it into the net for a 1-0 lead. Due to a clock error in the first half, the exact time was uncertain, but the goal occurred sometime between the 11th and 15th minute.
It was around 10 minutes later when Rivet earned the equalizer, as Niehaus dribbled and weaved in between the defending Warriors before hitting the back of the net.
Herman finished with nine saves, while Gage French had seven for the Warriors.
“Both teams played hard,” North Knox coach Robert Cullen said. “A couple times the ball just didn't bounce our way. Cole Jones had a good overall attack, and he put a good strike on his goal.”
Rivet visits Washington Catholic at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, and North Knox hosts Shoals at 5:30 p.m. Friday.