One big play in the first half created all the momentum the Sumner Spartans needed against the White River Hornets on the soccer field. Sumner keeper Henry Leenstra recorded a diving save on a penalty kick by White River midfielder Taylor Moser in the 21st minute and Spartans senior Trevor Thrall scored in the 61st minute, propelling the Spartans (7-5) to a 1-0 victory against the Hornets (4-6-2) on April 29 at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
Leenstra guessed right on Moser’s penalty kick. Moser’s shot to the lower right side of the goal was deflected by a diving Leenstra. Leenstra said he studied Moser before he unleashed the penalty kick in the first half.
“What I did was try to get an idea of where he was going and just give it my all,” Leenstra said. “I went to the right direction. I just had to be there for my team and do everything I could to keep them moving through this game and keep them looking forward.”
Spartans head coach Peter Voiles said the save was pivotal.
“It sounds funny, but goals change games. That was big for us absolutely,” Voiles said. “That would had been pretty destructive for what we were trying to do if that goal had scored. I thought we responded well in the second half.”
The Spartans remained in attack mode with the 1-0 lead as opposed to playing conservatively in the final 15 to 20 minutes of regulation. The Spartans had five shots on goal in the final 10 minutes of the game.
“Scoring goals is not necessarily something that has come easy to us this year. When the guys feel the opportunity to get a good rhythm going and finish they are going to take it,” Voiles said.