September 30th, 2020

Garcia's hat-trick boosts Rocks on senior night

Block_eric thorne

Eric Thorne

Staff Writer

Garcia's hat-trick boosts Rocks on senior night
Trinity's Rudy Garcia netted a hat-tick for the Rocks in a 3-0 win. (photo by Eric Thorne)

Rudy Garcia netted a hat-trick including the opening goal just 1:35 into the game and two more in the first half propelling the Trinity soccer team past visiting Elizabethtown 3-0 Wednesday at Marshall Stadium.

It was the junior’s first varsity three goal game, but more importantly it was a fitting way to send off the Rock seniors.

“It’s special to get one but definitely on senior night,” Garcia said. “We played super well and a giant team effort all around.  I am just glad that I can contribute tonight to sending them out with a win.”

Trinity coach Dale Helfrich knew the Panthers posed a touch matchup, but the explosive start was a welcome one.

“I’m really proud of my boys the way they came out after all the senior day stuff very energized and we bagged a goal just over a minute in,” Helfrich said. “We kept the foot on the pedal and kept that intensity up. I’m just real pleased where we are coming as a team.”

The junior leads the Rocks in goals this season with seven.

The first came when he took a corner kick from the right side and punched it past goalkeeper Brandon Parsons with Grayson McCarthy getting the assist.

The two teamed up again at the 13:35 mark as McCarthy lined a crossing pass and found Garcia in the box. He fired a shot at Parsons only to see it deflect off, but with the ball lying at his feet punched it in.

Garcia then found himself all alone streaking from midfield and Gehrig Hagedorn sent a perfect pass ahead hitting him in midstride and he slid it perfectly into the back of the goal with 10:30 left in the half.

“It feels like a one-of-a-kind emotion getting the hat-trick especially when the third one goes in it honestly feels different than the other two goals,” Garcia said. “It was a one-on-one and occasionally you miss but I was calm and determined to get it and I just tucked it away.”

It has not been the normal season that Trinity (4-3) expects each season winnings its first two game by a combined 13-0 only to drop the next three being outscored 16-2. They then downed Waggener 8-0.

The Rocks only have four regular season games remaining in the next 10 days, and the rival game against St. Xavier will not be made up.

“Playing a short season and an abbreviated preseason we didn’t have a lot of time to work on the key things especially when you are replacing nine out of 11 starters,” Helfrich said. “Here we are a few weeks in, the fitness is coming around and the guys are buying in and that makes me exited.”

Elizabethtown (8-3) had very few opportunities for shots in the opening half and except for a brief flurry early into the second spent most of the time on defense.

That left senior captain and goalkeeper Brayton Johnson enjoy the moment he was glad was able to materialize.

“I am overcome with emotion and joy just playing and getting to post a shutout is always nice but on senior night it made it even more special,” Johnson said. “It was difficult at the start of the season especially with a bunch of young kids and just a few of us seniors who didn’t have much varsity experience, so we had to all pick it up.”

Johnson admits the season got off to a great start, but three straight losses brought things into perspective.

“We hit a little rough patch and worked through our issues through practice and off field building chemistry,” Johnson said.

As he subbed out late in the game he was mobbed by teammates while giving fellow senior Nick Harrell minutes in goal.

“I am definitely more of a vocal leader as you can usually tell I’m really loud most of the time,” Johnson said. “I knew that wouldn’t be enough this year so I realized I would have to show it more as well and that’s what I’ve done.

“We can totally have success heading down that stretch if we get four wins and four shutouts and win convincingly go into post season with a six-game win streak all by shutouts would look really nice,” Johnson said.


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