The 2021 boys soccer 1st Region All “A” Classic Championship took place Monday, Aug. 30 between the St. Mary Vikings and Murray Tigers. Rain had subsided and the pitch was a soppy mess, but that didn’t stop the two teams from battling it out till the very end.
Ultimately the Tigers would win the game 2-1, and take the Championship with under two minutes left on the clock thanks to a penalty kick by senior forward Chase Renick.
“This was a pretty game to both be able to coach and to watch,” St. Mary head coach Jesus Espinoza told The Sun. “I think without them (the defense and goalkeeper) we would be in a lot of trouble, they’ve been improving game to game and they’ve showed it.”
The Tigers were the first to get points on the board; junior midfielder Collier Crouch knocked one in with just over six minutes remaining in the first half. Murray had many opportunities to score earlier but the Viking goalkeeper played his position well and kept the Tigers from scoring early.
St. Mary tied the game up off a penalty kick that turned into a header by Luke Sims in a crowded box. This brought the momentum soaring for the Vikings with just under 20 minutes left to play and their eyes on the championship.
In true championship game style, the intensity increased as the score was evened out and the clock ran closer to zero. A handful of yellow cards were called both ways leading to free chances to score. One such moment where the Viking keeper Jack Muiter had his chance to shine was early in the second half. There was nobody between him and the penalty kick and the Tigers looked to take the 2-0 lead. The quick hands of Muiter kept the Tigers from scoring just yet and got the Viking fans on their feet.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, not every penalty kick can be stopped and that’s how the Tigers capitalized and took the game. The Lady Tigers of Murray also claimed their respective 1st Region All “A” Classic Championship the game earlier.
They endured the rain and beat the Lady Vikings, 5-1.
St. Mary will turn around and play McCracken County on Tuesday night before taking a break until Sept. 13. Murray will take just a few days off but be back on the road on Sept. 2 to play Graves County.
Follow Jared Jensen on Twitter, @jcjensen94