Neither Winfield nor Rose Hill struggled to push the ball within 30 yards of the opposition's goal Tuesday night. The difference was which squad could finish in the trenches.
Rose Hill capitalized, scoring a 2-0 win on its home turf.
The Viking offense stalled against Rose Hill's packing defense.
“We've been hesitant like that a lot this year,” said Charles Osen, Winfield head coach. “We've preached possession all year, and I think sometimes we try to do too much possession. We're very unselfish, and sometimes to a fault almost.”
Czyz Taylor had no such reservations. With the first half nearing an end, Taylor became the focal point of the Rocket offense.
A pass from Kenton Weber gave Taylor enough time to eye his target.
“I was taking it across the goal from the left side and ripped it from about the 18 on the corner,” Taylor said.
A shot toward Winfield goalkeeper Tory Setzkorn curved gently into the right side of the net, putting Rose Hill ahead 1-0.
Taylor continued to crank up the pressure on the Vikings. With 30 seconds to go in the first half, he tipped a shot just off the top crossbar. Early in the second half, a breakaway one-on-one by Taylor was saved only when Setzkorn punched the ball out from under Taylor's feet, stopping an otherwise easy finish for Taylor.
Taylor said Winfield's defense was slow to react early on, a point not lost on the Vikings' coach.
“We respect Rose Hill with their program. I thought maybe we came out a little gunshy,” Osen said. “It really wasn't by design. It was just kind of how the game was dictated.”
Winfield's offensive press produced few clean looks at the goal, as Aaron Parrott preserved a shutout for the Rockets.
“We try to push the guys up in the back, then when we lose a ball we collapse back and defend as a whole. We work well as a team,” said Rose Hill Assistant Coach Phil McNany. Rose Hill Head Coach Jerry Treat did not coach the game.
With about 15 minutes to go in the match, Rose Hill's Austin Dinkel added a security blanket when he floated a direct kick into the back of Winfield's net for a 2-0 advantage.
Rose Hill (9-3) will face Independence on Saturday.
“Our team is definitely progressing,” Taylor said. “This is still a young team."