Anthony Alberti's golden goal in second extra time period delivers win for Indians

Osage junior Anthony Alberti may have been drenched and freezing in his club's home and regular season finale. 

It did not matter. 

Locked in the middle of a double extra time game with Camdenton on a wet and cold rainy night in sub-50 degree temperatures, Alberti received a pass from senior Robert Colonius that seemingly skipped through a few players and quickly found himself with an opportunity to deliver the game-winning golden goal. The junior did not disappoint as he rocketed a shot to the right of the keeper in the 96th minute to give the Indians a 2-1 win over the neighboring Lakers. 

"My blood was boiling, adrenaline was rushing and I was too focused on winning the game for my team," Alberti said of the night. 

"I noticed that if this was the best situation to capitalize on, I would have to do it so luckily the defender missed the ball when trying to kick it out and we had a pretty open shot there... I just took my shot and it went in." 

Good thing, too, because the teams would have had to continue braving the elements for another five minutes and an ensuing penalty kick shootout otherwise. There were multiple opportunities for each side to deliver the knockout, but whether it was good saves or near misses that just went outside the posts, neither side could pull ahead after being tied for about 73 minutes. 

"Our possession is spot on, our touch is decent and we are very confident on the ball. Almost too confident in the fact that once we get inside the 18 we have to take one more touch," Osage coach Jason Long noted of the attack. "We are going to have to get that killer instinct if we are going to be able to win games. We are going to have to find the back of the net and what you saw from Alberti in the final minutes of overtime is exactly what we are going to need. We are going to need players to be able to do that on a consistent basis. 

"We just have to get it on frame, have quality on it and put it in the corners and not just kick it straight at the keeper or over the crossbar." 

Osage delivered the first punch of the night in the 19th minute on a junior Alec Hebblethwaite free kick from about 45 yards out that found the feet of Colonius who was able to dribble by the keeper and hit the open net. However, it did not take Camdenton long to respond as Camdenton senior Josh Gerdiman zoomed a low 25-yard shot that scraped off the bottom of the post and into the net about five minutes later.

The second half had its fair share of chances as well. Colonius nearly scored from point blank range, but was stopped by Camdenton junior keeper Ian Kirby-Gibson. Laker junior Austin Clay nearly hit a shot directly off a pass that skimmed passed the post after Gerdiman's long dribble into the attacking third to set it up. Kirby-Gibson stopped a solid long-range free kick from Alberti and both sides remained tied at 1. 

In overtime, Camdenton junior Ethan Truesdell had his 25-yard free kick stopped by Osage senior keeper Garrett Long. Osage freshman Will Faulconer hit a shot just wide of the post. Camdenton junior Dakota Boller almost hit a game-winner from 40 yards out that forced Long to make a diving save and Colonius also hit a shot off a direct pass that curved just passed the post. Then, Alberti finally came through. 

"You have to give it to Osage, first off, because they worked their tails off and the bottom line is they created some opportunities and capitalized and we didn't," Camdenton coach Chris Byington said. "We missed some wide open goals, but I'm proud of my boys from coming down 1-0 and coming back and grinding to having some momentum at times. It was a great game and I knew going into it that it was going to be a heck of a game." 

That may be because of the approach both clubs have taken in the offseason, helping each other to get better as one united Lake area front. 

"It is fantastic being able to work with Chris and Josh (Baldwin) outside of the game because we are always trying to figure out what is best for Lake area players- not just Osage or Camdenton," Long said. "I feel like what you are seeing now is probably not the same soccer that was played here in the past. I hope not. I hope I'm doing my job, Chris is doing his job and we are developing that and it becomes much more."

Well, things are certainly trending upward for an Osage side that finished the regular season with seven straight wins and its third winning season in program history with a final regular season record of 12-10. Long took a different approach to 2019, opting to replace some Class 1 opponents with larger and more competitive teams for his Class 2 club and it has seemingly paid off. 

"We are developing men, that is all I can say. We are taking boys and they are learning how to work through struggles to overcome obstacles and I cannot ask more from what they've done this year at all," the coach stated. 

It also sets a good foundation for future Indians on the pitch. 

"I think that game and this season sets high standards for the kids below us and makes them want to achieve goals like we did this yaer so they actually have something to work for," Alberti said.

Long said he was also glad to be able to send the seniors off with a memorable win in the final regular season home game and now the focus shifts to districts for the Indians as they get ready to take on a 12-8 Fatima team in the semifinals of the Class 2 District 10 Tournament. The Indians will host the Comets on November 4 at 7 p.m.

"We played them earlier in the season and beat them 2-0 but that is the first time in program history we have ever beaten Fatima. Fatima has something to prove and I think our boys have the quality to play," Long noted. "It is probably going to be another dogfight and I hope we have a bit more quality on our shots." 

Garrett is ready for the road ahead. 

"It is going to take us keep focusing during practices. We have to keep grinding, keep training intently and just keep focusing," the senior said. 

Camdenton (10-12, 4-4 Tri-County Conference) went on to beat Lebanon the next night in a penalty kick shootout. The Lakers visit Moberly on Tuesday and wrap up the regular season at home against Springfield Central on Thursday.

"It is how you grow and grind and really just how you get after it," Byington said. "Keep the heads up, keep pressing and it is all good. It is progress."