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GOSHEN – North Oldham didn’t waste time laying claim to its own tournament Monday night.
The Mustangs scored two goals within a minute and a half of each other less than 15 minutes into the match and then held on for a 3-1 win over Kentucky Country Day in the opening round of the Mustang Classic.
The season-opening win was the first for new North coach Chad Niedert.
“We weren’t particularly pleased with the possession we played… but that’s splitting hairs when you win 3-1 to start a season,” Niedert said.
Two Mustang veterans linked up to get the scoring started. Eleven minutes into the match senior midfielder and team captain Quinn Foster found fellow senior Colin Burke with a pass to the top of the KCD box. Burke then powered a left-footed shot past Bearcat keeper Cole Gallagher to put North up 1-0.
Barely more than a minute later senior forward Sean Williams-Harris doubled the Mustang advantage when dribbled through the KCD back line and beat Gallagher to the left. Foster also assisted on that goal.
“Quinn’s really good at setting us up and moving the ball,” Burke said. “He’s just a good player overall and a great captain.”
The lead held at two until Bearcat forward John Colbert broke free and scored on a breakaway to cut the North lead to 2-1.
As KCD drew to within one goal of forcing a draw, a Mustang freshman made a play to secure the win.
Freshman Mason Rice got a run down the right side with 15 minutes left and sent a cross past the far post. The ball found senior Hunter Wafford, who calmly put it in the back of the net to extend North’s lead back to two goals at 3-1.
Rice’s cross was the first big play in what Niedert hopes will be a high school career full of them.
“He’s impressed us throughout the preseason,” Niedert said of Rice, the lone North freshman to start Monday. “I think the way he played today is where he can build on, for sure. He played well, but there’s always extra things we can work towards.”
Rice’s offensive skills will be an asset for the Mustangs this fall, Burke said.
“I can see him being a big part of the team, especially as a freshman,” Burke said. “People are going to underestimate him because of his size, but he’s going to run circles around them.”
Rice, Burke and the Mustangs will be back on the field Wednesday at 8 p.m. against Cooper for their second game of the Classic. The Jaguars beat St. Francis 4-1 Monday in their season opener.