(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
SIKESTON -- It's the biggest goal the junior has ever scored.
Zach Harrison, who is listed as a defender on Sikeston's roster sheet, punched in the game-winning goal beating his defender, Notre Dame's keeper and their rival in one flick of the neck Thursday at the Sikeston Sports Complex, 1-0.
"It was a great ball by Tyler (McClinton)," Harrison said. "Someone ended up heading it at the top of the box and I was just there to get the lucky bounce and head it in."
It's Sikeston's first win against Notre Dame since 2005, according to Sikeston head coach Doyle Noe.
"Those were two really good teams with two good goalies and solid defenses that's going to shut a lot of things down," Noe said. "It's let-downs, hustle plays, effort and want-to that's going to get that goal to break it open in a game like this and that's what happened."
Harrison struck the blow to Notre Dame in the second half following a defensive battle in the first.
The play started with a free kick from Brandon Goodwin at the midline. Sophomore Tyler McClinton kept the ball going towards the net while Harrison took the touch from his teammate. Harrison followed the bounce and slipped behind Notre Dame's keeper for the open net header at exactly the 53rd minute.
"A lot of times it's the team that can finish," Noe said. "Fortunately, we were that team tonight."
Harrison has spent most of his time this year playing as a defender after primarily starting at outside defender last season.
"Both teams are very good," said Harrison. "I figured the first team to score would end up with the win. We haven't scored on them since I've been in high school. To get that first goal is really a big thing for me."
Although he doesn't start, Noe is confident putting Harrison wherever he needs a spot filled.
"Zach can play anywhere," said Noe. "He's got a lot of energy, doesn't stop and is a very aggressive, physical player. He's skilled, wins a lot of balls and makes things happen. Tonight, he definitely had it going for him. Hopefully he can give me something like that off the bench going forward."
Both teams struggled to find opportunities to score throughout the entire game. Although Notre Dame (4-2) held possession throughout most of the first half, coming up with shots on goal were few and far between.
"That was probably our worst game of the year, possession-wise," Notre Dame head coach Brad Wittenborn said. "Part of that is playing three nights in a row. Soccer's not a game where it's easy to play three games in a row."
Sikeston's defense took advantage of a fatigued Notre Dame team, although they have made a name for itself of late.
Sikeston (6-3) has caused back to back shutouts against both Cape Central and Notre Dame -- two district opponents.
"Our defense did great," Harrison said. "Especially, our goal keeper Josh Hampton and Paul (Hughes). Those are two great seniors that we're going to miss next year. But while we have them, we're sure going to appreciate them."
Sikeston outshot Notre Dame 10-8. Hampton had three saves at goal.
"Our biggest strength is our defense," added Noe. "They're very organized and very skilled. It's big to have guys back there that could do it all and make plays to get the ball moving up the field."
This week of games for Sikeston has been a grind to say the least.
They ended up on the wrong end of a 2-1 game against Perryville to start, beat Cape Central on an open net goal and bounced their rival in their second 1-0 game.
"This week was big for us," Noe said. "Those three are very good teams and the district could go through both Cape (Central) or Notre Dame. To get wins over both of them is huge."