GALESBURG, Ill. — Nearly everything about the way the Quincy High School boys soccer team played Wednesday night pleased Blue Devils coach Ron Bridal.
“We were able to possess the ball and move the ball really well,” he said.
What the Blue Devils didn’t do was turn a 3-0 victory over Galesburg in Western Big Six Conference play at Van Dyke Field into a complete rout.
“We just couldn’t find the back of the net with the 476 shots we took,” Bridal exaggeratedly said.
Three shots getting through were enough.
Roughly 15 minutes into the first half, the Galesburg defense failed to clear a ball as Quincy forward Gavin Higgins stole a weak pass into the middle of the field and ripped a shot from 25 yards out that carried over the goalkeeper’s head and under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead.
In the 37th minute, the Silver Streaks knocked a ball down in the box and saw it ricochet wide to Blue Devils forward Andrew Vandermaiden. He touched the ball toward the endline and placed a shot over the keeper’s shoulder and under the crossbar for the goal and a 2-0 halftime lead.
Less than 30 seconds into the second half, the Blue Devils (3-2-1, 2-0-1 WB6) made it a three-goal spread as Vandermaiden picked up his second goal.
A ball played into the right corner was recycled back to wing defender Nolan Fleer, who flighted a ball into the box from about 40 yards out. About 10 yards in front of the goal, Vandermaiden headed a shot that bounced into the left side of the net.
That was enough for a defense that posted its second shutout of the season.
“The defense continued to improve,” Bridal said. “Some of the things that have been areas of concern we continue to get better at. Really, in the second half, we did much better with those things. We’re really happy with how our defense responded.”