Bryan Station's seniors couldn't stop smiling.
In their four seasons with the Defenders they'd never won a district tournament game, until Monday night, when they shut out Sayre 2-0 to advance to the semifinals on their home field.
"It's a huge step for our program," senior Ross McGoodwin said. "This program is on the rise. This is a big win. We really wanted this one."
McGoodwin helped the 26th District tournament host Defenders get a leg up early, scoring their second goal of the game with 16 minutes to go in the first half.
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He battled Sayre keeper Conrad Bandoroff for a loose ball and managed to kick it free in time to pop it into the back of an empty net.
"I just came in with everything, just hoping for the best," McGoodwin said of his sixth goal of the season.
McGoodwin's goal was insurance after Jose Rosas scored earlier for the Defenders, who have beaten Sayre only once in their last nine tries.
Less than 10 minutes into the match, Rosas struck, launching a rocket from the right side of the goal.
"I saw it and I went for it," Rosas said. "I came with everything today and tried to do my best."
That was all Coach Dan Hacker could ask of this team, which gave him just his second win in district tournament play in this decade.
Hacker said Rosas jump starting the offense was a big boost.
"We've had games when we've had unbelievable ball movement, but we couldn't find the back of the net," Hacker said. "Tonight they saw that solid passing pay off."
He said getting the shutout, the Defenders' fourth of the season, was nice.
It gives the team some needed confidence as it goes forward, the players said.
"It felt great," senior defender Mike Weeks said. "Just stopping them and getting the shutout was a great feeling and every player out there did it."
The Defenders face top-seeded and defending district champion Tates Creek in one of the two semifinals this week. Henry Clay will meet Scott County in the other.
Creek dropped Station 4-0 in the regular season.
But Hacker encouraged his team to forget that game and all of the past district disappointments.
"It's time for you to live up to your potential," he told his team after the win.
For one night, the Defenders definitely felt like they did.
"This game is huge for us," McGoodwin said. "It's the biggest win I've ever been a part of."
Bryan Station 2, Sayre 0
Goals—BS: Jose Rosas, Ross McGoodwin.
Goalkeepers—BS: Richie Marx; S: Conrad Bandoroff.
Records—Bryan Station 6-7-2, Sayre 3-12.