AFFTON • As the Lutheran South soccer team found out earlier this season, change is almost never easy.
Under coach Kirk Halveland, who took over in the second week of the season for Kent Hediger, things have stabilized.
The Lancers took another step in the right direction as senior midfielder Brad Fritsche scored twice to help Lutheran South beat visiting St. Pius X 3-0 Thursday to win its third game in four tries.
Fritsche, who has netted three game-winners in the Lancers' last four victories, said the season has been a work in progress.
“It was hard at first, but as the season has gone on, we've learned how to make it work,” Fritsche said. “Things are going great right now, we're ready.”
Lutheran South (12-10) withstood Pius, which won the Jefferson County Conference title the night before, early.
That changed quickly, however, after Fritsche buried a penalty 15 minutes in.
“Getting that PK goal gave us confidence and once our confidence was there, we started to play our game,” Halveland said. “We play a possession game on the ground and I thought the boys passed it around really well. We moved the ball well and at halftime we talked about doing more of that in the second half and you saw what happened.”
South found the back of the net twice more in the second half.
Senior forward Jake Reis slammed a header in the 64th minute to double the lead before Fritsche finished the scoring with his 12th of the season with just under eight minutes left.
“I think he's just now getting healthy,” Halveland said of Fritsche. “He's starting to feel better and become more comfortable with the ball. He takes players on, as you can see, and once he gets the 1-v-1 going, he can do some stuff.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Austin Reis earned the shutout win, his fourth of the season.
While the result was far from ideal for Pius (14-5), head coach Steve Smith said the Lancers might have been feeling the after-effects of a 2-1 win at Perryille the night before that clinched the conference title.
The championship win stopped a run of four straight solo JCC titles for the Pirates, who last shared the title with Pius in 2013.
“I guess you could call it a little hangover. They put everything they could into last night's game,” Smith said. “Truth be told, we were down a starter and had another starter who was rehabbing an injury who had been out a couple weeks. He was in the first 15 minutes and you could tell we had control and were pressing. We give up a silly foul and the PK sucked out all the momentum.”This was originally published on stltoday.com