Quick start helps Osage boys soccer top Camdenton

MICHAEL LOSCH, Lake Sun Sports Editor
Osage senior Anthony Alberti possesses the ball in front of Camdenton's goal with Camdenton senior Tyler Banuelos in pursuit on Thursday, October 22, in Camdenton. Alberti scored two goals for the Indians.

School of the Osage wasted little time Thursday night in its annual Lake area battle on the pitch with Camdenton. 

So little time that senior Anthony Alberti earned a spot in the MSHSAA record books as his team earned a 3-1 win over the Lakers.

The Indians started with possession after the opening kickoff and about nine second later, the team found itself up 1-0. Alberti dropped the ball back to a teammate who played the ball through the middle to senior Josh Cooper and the senior placed the ball to the right of the goal where Alberti went one-on-one with the keeper and finished the shot. According to MSHSA records, it was the fifth fastest goal scored, just behind a pair of players who are tied for third with goals after eight seconds.

"Whenever we get going and get in the right mindset, we play really well together. I mean, it shows right there," Alberti said of his club's quick start. "We came out, passed the ball back, found space and we put it in the back of the net like that. It is easier said than done, but I think we are doing a pretty good job."

Osage made it 2-0 less than 10 minutes later when a Cooper corner kick was deflected into the net. It was not exactly the start Camdenton coach Tyler Sevon was looking for as the Lakers played just their second game with everyone back in the lineup after coronavirus issues forced some shuffling of the roster earlier this year. 

"We have not even trained since then so we are still pretty rusty," the coach said after the full lineup returned just two nights earlier in a game at Rolla. 

"We just started slow. We were on our heels early and they snuck one in. We had a mishap in goal and then it went 2-0, then 3-0. In the second half, we started working our butts off and made some things happen, but we just started slow."

Camdenton junior Grant Thompson nearly got a goal back for the Lakers with about 19 minutes remaining in the first half on a deep 40-yard boot that went just wide of the frame. Alberti nearly scored just over a minute later for the Indians on an upper right corner shot about 25 yards out that had to be popped out over the end line for a corner kick. 

Alberti made sure to take care of his next opportunity, though. 

The senior scored his second goal of the night to make it 3-0 with just under 12 minutes remaining in the first half on a low drive across the goal from inside the box as he darted down the right side. It was a particularly well-placed finish considering the limited angle the shot came from. 

"It all just comes down to is who it is and how confident you are in yourself. If you are not confident with your shots or play, you are not going to play to your ability and that is something that us as we are starting to finally get through our head," Alberti said after his team came into Thursday night's fixture with just three goals in the past three games. "We have it in us and we know we can do it so we are finally clicking and putting it in the back of the net, which is awesome."

Osage sophomore Will Faulconer nearly scored the fourth goal of the night with just over five minutes remaining in the first on a shot from the top of the 18-yard box to the top corner that was stopped with a nice save from Camdenton senior keeper Ian Kirby-Gibson. And the Indians had quite a few more chances in the second half, but could not find a way to get another one through. 

Osage junior Mark Pankiv had a point blank shot at the start of the second half that went just wide of the post on a through ball from Alberti, another goal was waved off due to an offsides call with about 18 minutes left, a Faulconer shot with about eight minutes left was stopped on a diving save, a Pankiv rocket outside the box was saved after a rebound and Faulconer nearly scored again with about three minutes left on a point blank shot. 

It was a good start for Osage, but Coach Jason Long would also like to see his team put together just as nice of a finish on the offensive end with districts just around the corner. 

"We've got the confidence and our shots are on point, we are just not getting them in the back of the net and we have to get that monkey off our backs before we get to district play," the coach noted as his team seeks to return to a district championship game.

"I challenged the boys at halftime and told them we are taking too many touches in the 18 (yard box) or in front of the goal. We should be getting those shots off with our first or second touch. We were playing combination play and getting those opportunities... we are just going to have to work on getting them in the net. I think part of that was probably that we're shooting near post at the keeper instead of trying to shoot it across the goal when we get second shots. There is a lot of things we can work on, we just have to get it done."

Camdenton was able to score early in the second half just three minutes in on a dart from sophomore Caden Kowal who lined up his shot from about 30 yards out. The shot went straight towards the keeper and managed to slip by. 

With about 13 minutes left, Thompson had a set piece that was deflected just over the post and another free kick from the junior not far outside the box also sailed over the bar with about a minute left. Camdenton sophomore Gunnar Schuster had one final shot as time expired that narrowly skimmed over the crossbar as well before the clock ran out.

"Offensively, we just told the boys to start working harder. Nothing tactically we tried to change, just getting to goal and trying to put one in the net," Sevon said of his club's offense. "We did, but unfortunately we did not follow that up with any. We worked a lot harder in the second half and I thought we dominated more." 

It was a night where Camdenton often had to find ways to counter because the Osage defense did not allow the Lakers much space to build up the attack.

"I could not be more happy with the way our defensive team has played all year long. We’ve got a young team, we’ve got two sophomores, a junior and one senior and they do a fantastic job back there," Long said of his defensive third. "The six I have in front of them do a fantastic job of putting pressure on the ball and making their jobs easier. They do a really good job of distributing the ball and possessing out of the back. I can’t say enough about our defense and midfield play. We just have to work as a unit, be a little more disciplined and find the back of the net." 

Osage (10-6) has won two straight and eight of its past 10 games dating back to late September. The Indians will host Helias on Monday at 5 p.m. before wrapping up the regular season with another home game against Fulton on Tuesday.

"Helias will be a good challenge. They are a Class 4 school this year and beat us, 4-2, last year," Long said of the next opponent. "The teams they are playing, we play and play well against so it is going to be a dogfight. It will be one of those games that will be a fun game to watch and I just hope we come out on top." 

Camdenton (4-16-1, 0-8) Ozark Conference will wrap up the regular season at Springfield Central on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. 

"Now that everyone is back, we are going to try to get everyone to gel and get a little bit more back in shape. We looked a little out of shape and gassed so get back in shape and tactically, work some things out with everyone who is back," Sevon said of the road ahead for his team.