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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Pirates claim NCMC title

  • The Hannibal soccer team might not have played the way it wanted during the first 40 minutes of play Saturday, but the Pirates rebounded in the second half to tie the game and before beating Marshall 5-4 in overtime when Casey St. Clair scored the game winner with 1:47 remaining in OT.
    After the game, the goal and the win still had not sunk in to St. Clair.
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  • JASON FARMER
    Jason.farmer@courierpost.com
    The Hannibal soccer team might not have played the way it wanted during the first 40 minutes of play Saturday, but the Pirates rebounded in the second half to tie the game and before beating Marshall 5-4 in overtime when Casey St. Clair scored the game winner with 1:47 remaining in OT.
    After the game, the goal and the win still had not sunk in to St. Clair.
    “I really haven’t felt it yet,” St. Clair said. “I don’t know the feeling. I guess it just hasn’t hit me yet.”
    St. Clair might have been speechless, but Hannibal coach Eric Hill was not.
    “He hammered it,” Hill said. “It was a laser and not too many keepers were going to stop that one.”
    That the win set a new Hannibal school record for wins in a season was lost in the fact that the Pirates won the North Central Missouri Conference championship outright, especially after falling behind 4-1 at the end of the first half.
    “It was a lot of work by our team over the last four years,” St. Clair said. “There are a couple of young kids coming up that hopefully are going to fill our shoes.”
    Marshall took a 1-0 lead just four minutes into the game when the Owls Wilber Palma scored on Marshall’s first shot of the game. Marshall extended its lead to 2-0 at 25:37 on a goal from Isai Trujillo. Trujillo scored again less than two minutes later at 23:49 to give the Owls a 3-0 lead.
    Hannibal finally got on the board when Tyler Thomure scored an unassisted goal with 21:48 remaining.
    With 0:04 seconds left in the first half, Trujillo completed the hat-trick for the Owls with his third goal of the afternoon. Marshall took six shots in the first half and scored on four of them to take a 4-1 lead into the break.
    “Honestly I thought – I mean you saw, we outplayed them in the first half,” Hill said. “But we had to many miscues in the back. They had maybe four or five opportunities in the first half and they had four goals off of it.”
    Once the second half starter, Hannibal (19-5) started to chip away at Marshall’s lead as the Pirates started scoring and the Owls stopped.
    With 26:34 remaining, Trever Hertlein scored on an assist from St. Clair to cut Marshall’s lead in half. At 14:00 Blake Hosley got the Pirates within one when he scored on a penalty kick.
    “The PK was a risky shot,” Hill said. ”It was sloppy out there and Blake really had to watch his footing on that. You could approach the ball and lose your footing and you are not going to get anything on it. Blake is usually pretty dead on on his PK’s and that’s why we have him take them.”
    Page 2 of 2 - It only took 46 seconds for Hannibal to tie the game at 4-4. Thomure hit the equalizer at 13:14 for his second goal of the day on an assist from Clay Cunningham.
    “He is a beast, he really is” Hill said of Thomure. “He has been playing – to me – out of this world the last couple of weeks of the season. He works so hard. He has great speed and made a couple of great plays for us.”
    With the game now tied, St. Clair had one thing in mind for the Hannibal defense.
    “My thought was pack the defense in,” St. Clair said. “Take it to overtime and just get a golden goal.”
    Hannibal had other opportunities to score in overtime. The Pirates missed a couple of shots and even had one that bounced off the top cross bar. Finally, with time in the first overtime period winding down, St. Clair scored the game winner for the Pirates on a free kick.
    “I think overall, with the first half, second half and overtime, we hit that cross bar four times,” Hill said. “With a matter of inches, that is four more goals. But that is how it is and Casey (St. Clair) has a heck of a foot. He sends all our corner kicks for us and all of our free kicks for us.”
    With the win, the Pirates accomplished three things. The first was winning the NCMC championship for the first time since 2007. The second was they set a school record for wins in a season. The final was that the Pirates earned the No. 1 seed heading into district play. The Pirates will have a first round bye before facing the winner of Kirksville and Mexico on Tuesday, October 30.
    “I can’t remember a bigger comeback that I have been a part of as a coach or a player,” Hill said. “The guys knew that we were in it and they knew that we had a chance if they just stuck to it. The guys played their hearts out.”

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