Top-ranked Trinity wins, but does not impress Burch

September 28, 2003|JILL ERWIN

Centre College soccer coach Jeb Burch was not impressed with what he saw from top-ranked Trinity Friday.

However, he was even less impressed with what he saw from his own team.

Centre's lackluster first half allowed Trinity to take a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes on the way to a 3-0 victory.

"Honestly, in the 13 years I've been in this conference, that is one of the weaker Trinity teams I've seen," Burch said. "I told my team at halftime that I had a hard time believing that was the No. 1 team in the country.

"I really thought we gave it away in the first half. This was a great opportunity, whether they're No. 1 or not, to take it to them and beat them."


Centre (4-2-1) never challenged the Tigers (8-0). Trinity scored its first goal in the seventh minute off the foot of sophomore Cullen Davies and its second goal just 14 minutes later on a header by junior Alex Woods.

The score could have been worse, but Centre goalkeeper Jacob Sither had several big saves. Sither stopped two breakaways by coming out of the net and covering the ball.

Sither made eight saves off 21 Trinity shots.

"Jacob saved our butts," Burch said. "It's a given that Jacob is playing well for us. I think he's always going to play well for us.

"I just wish he would have had a little more help. That's my other concern, why does he have to make all these big saves for us?"

He has to mostly because Centre has been playing with a makeshift defense. Senior Jordan Parker missed last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and Burch said he hasn't recovered as fully as he had hoped and was not dressed for Friday's game. Sophomore Kent Starkweather tore his ACL earlier this year and is out.

Burch has shifted freshman forward Jeff Thornbury to the back to play with Stan Simek, Todd Davis and Rhodes Thompson. But he also gave freshman Matt Dickson and sophomore midfielder Cliff Wright time in the back against Trinity.

Add to that the fact Davis left the game with almost 35 minutes to play because of cramping and was ineligible to return, and Burch said things were bound to go wrong.

"The injuries in the game hurt us, the injuries that have been hitting us all season have hurt us and it makes it difficult for us to set our team up in the way we need to set them up to go out and win," Burch said. "We're constantly having to try to cover for injuries and we spend more time trying to cover than we do trying to set up to go win.

"Every time we've turned to (Dickson), that kid has gone in and given us a good game. He's a bright spot in what's continually been a big problem for us."

Burch tried to turn his team's fortunes around by pushing Thornbury up top to start the second half,and while Centre played better, the Colonels couldn't find the back of the net.

Friday's game continued Centre's scoring drought. The Colonels have been held scoreless for their last two games, including an overtime battle with Washington (Mo.) last weekend.

"We know we are leading the conference in shots on goal, but we have no player who's in the scoring category (leaders) in the conference," Burch said.

"The thing with Jeffrey was just to try to get somebody who could be dynamic and try to be up top and score. That's nothing against my front-runners, because they're working as hard as anybody on the team. But we had four open goals inside the six (-yard box) that were over the bar, and that's a real problem for us right now. We're not scoring goals."

Trinity scored its final goal with 16:44 to play when Chris Quinn scored.

Centre was outshot 21-12 in the game.

Jill Erwin can be reached at

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