YELLOW SPRINGS — Practice make perfect, but a little bit of instinct is a good quality to have on the pitch, as Legacy Christian’s Parker Burke discovered.
A shot from nearly 30 yards out off Burke’s right foot sailed just under the crossbar and broke open a tie game with under five minutes remaining as Legacy Christian pulled out a 4-3 upset over Yellow Springs Thursday night.
The two Metro Buckeye Conference rivals entered the match undefeated and both ranked in the top-15 in the latest Division III state rankings, with YS at No. 3 and LCA ranked No. 11.
“We knew coming in it was going to be rough,” Burke said. “We prepared hard in practice and this was a team effort for sure.”
Burke played a long ball from his goalie near midfield and fought for possession toward the sideline. Once he got a small opening, he instantly smashed a ball from well outside of the penalty area over the top of the Yellow Springs keeper and just missing grazing the crossbar.
“I tell him every day during practice he has the quality, so rip it man,” LCA head coach Joe McCaskey said in describing when a player knows how to go for long shot attempts. “He does it in practice and he’s not afraid of that anymore.”
The winning goal for Burke completed a hat trick for himself, but it was his second goal of the game which renewed the vigor in his team to get a win.
Yellow Springs’ overcame an early goal by the Knights to take what appeared to be a commanding 3-1 lead early in the second half. Two goals by Dylon Mapes in the first half closed the first half before Eli Eyrich netted his 86th career goal a few minutes following halftime.
As the second half progressed, Adam Newell began turning the tide on the Bulldogs’ attack from his goalkeeping position to quickly reverse the field with long boots, one of which led to a 3-on-1 for Burke to break through the defense and change the momentum with just under 17 minutes to go.
“I think once we got that first in there, I think it gave us a spark,” McCaskey said. “Those huge punts from our keeper up to the top really sparked us.”
Minutes after pulling within one, Dillon Campbell tied the score for LCA by corralling a loose ball in front of the net and getting his team plenty of time to go for the win.
“I thought we were playing really well,” Bulldogs head coach Ben VanAusdal said. “We made a couple of fundamental mistakes on defense and we knew right off the bat Parker was going to be the man. He did his thing and he’s a great player.”
Yellow Springs controlled the pace of the match and won the battle in total shots 29-12. The Bulldogs got multiple chances in the final minutes to tie the score once more, but could only manage one shot on net as the seconds ticked down.
Legacy Christian improves to 11-0-0 this season and McCaskey said he feels he could see this run of success coming for his players if they continued on with their recent course of play.
“We played Miami East a couple weeks ago and they’re another top team,” he said. “When we beat them 1-0 it was a fight and that gave us a lot of confidence. I think that was one of the games where our guys realized we can go far in any game and the tournament and this is another boost for us. Yellow Springs is another top team and they deserved to win just as much as we do so praise to them.”
The loss for the Bulldogs ended an unbeaten run of 27 straight matches in regular season play.
“This was a good learning experience for my boys,” VanAusdal said. “This will prepare us a little better for tournament time, and Legacy has a good team. I applaud them.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.