LIZTON — His right hand attempting to shield his eyes from the sun as he prepared for the incoming corner attempt, Tri-West sophomore goalkeeper Lucas Rutherford won the ball in the 29th minute.
He did not, however, catch the in-swinging ball.
Connor Miller, the Bruins left back, cleared the ball off the Raiders’ only corner kick of the half.
A great ball from Cardinal Ritter midfielder Evan Espinoza found the foot of Raiders’ midfielder Matt Bayler and the senior turned to his left, shot, and scored.
The Bruins, though they outshot Ritter 12-10, could not find an equalizer as the Raiders won 1-0 Thursday night at Tri-West High School.
“I just got a good touch and hit it in with the keeper coming back,” Bayler said. “It was all in the pass and everybody crowding the box too.”
About three minutes earlier, Tri-West midfielder Trevor Waite possessed the ball on the right side about 20 yards from goal, five yards to the left of the edge of the 18-yard box. He had a clear shot, but instead opted to pass to his right.
A goal kick ended that possession.
Tri-West coach Jeff Denny said he would have liked to see Waite attempt the shot. Overall, he said his team possessed the ball quite well in the middle. One mistake cost them.
“It was a good match all the way around,” he said. “During one unfortunate corner, they had it, we cleared it out, (and) the whole team stepped (up). We left one unmarked, he got a ball, turned and shot.”
Bayler’s shot from about eight yards out evaded Rutherford’s dive to his left as it found the back of the net.
The Bruins outshot the Raiders 3-0 in the final 10 minutes, including a pair of good looks.
Logan Stroup and Jaret DeGolyer worked a give-and-go on the left side in the 71st minute, but Stroup couldn’t get his shot on frame.
With less than two minutes remaining, Tri-West midfielder Lucas Brown took a shot from 20 yards away on the left side. Cardinal Ritter senior Danny Kivett, a halftime sub, notched the save to preserve the Raiders’ shutout.
Ritter coach Bashir Birany said the Bruins looked “awesome” and “phenomenal.” The Raiders rebounded well from a 1-0 loss two days previously at Speedway, he said.
The system he teaches to his players helps them defend the through balls well.
“When I see the through balls, I’m not extremely worried about it,” Birany said. “They tested us tonight, and I loved it.”