Courtesy High School OT: Athens Drive had entered the match winners of seven straight including 3-1 win last Wednesday in the first of back-to-back matches with Sanderson. In this week's HighSchoolOT statewide Top-25 boys soccer rankings, the Jaguars entered at the No. 9 spot in the state.
On the home side, the Spartans looked to gain momentum having only played to a 3-3-1 record their previous seven entering Monday's match. What Sanderson has had going for it this season has been a strong defensive stretches, in five of the team's seven wins they have managed to post a clean sheet.
Connor Iglio broke the ice in the 29th minute of a first half that saw few offensive opportunities. The senior midfielder found space to maneuver down the far sideline, navigated his way towards the box, and finished upper right for a 1-0 lead.
But there would be no comeback as Sanderson unleashed the final dagger thanks to a booming free kick by goal keeper Sebastian Cortez. The high-arching kick bounded deep into Athens Drive territory and to the foot of Ryan Parker who slid the ball towards the cage.
With the keeper out to challenge, the ball rolled in to a wide-open goal for a 3-1 lead. Cortez, who made four crucial stops in the match, was credited with his first assist on the play.
That held through the halftime break.
A corner in the 49th extended the Spartan advantage. Ethan Chambers was credited with the tally on a scrum in the box that was blown dead by officials and later ruled a goal. It was Chambers' second of the season and first since scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Grimsley on August 25.
Athens Drive was finally able to mount a counter attack in the 61st. Jack Thompson pulled the Jaguars back within a goal with his seventh of the year.