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Thunder rolls past Grace Prep, 6-1

BELLEVILLE — After a strong showing against Northumberland Christian on Monday, Belleville Mennonite carried that momentum passed Grace Prep in a 6-1 victory in an Allegheny Christian Athletic Association Eastern Division boys soccer game on Tuesday.

“I feel good about tonight’s win,” Thunder coach Brian Renno said. “Coming off of last night’s match against Northumberland Christian I was a little concerned with how we would approach this match with Grace Prep who had a couple of great players we had to keen in on and contain.”

“I felt that the first half that our three back defenders and our defensive mids really set the tone in winning the balls at the midfield,” Renno continued. “And we were able to lock into our attacking third so I feel great about the outcome.”

Belleville Mennonite (2-2-1) was not playing around in the opening half and began attacking the Grace Prep net. The Thunder dominated possession, keeping it for 85 percent of the opening half.

Colton Sunderland was the first one to have a shot on goal but the ball sailed way over the net. Not long after that, Quinn Renno made a run toward the net but was cut off by the Grace Prep defense. Sunderland then took another shot on goal but it went wide left.

But eventually the pressure became too much for Grace Prep keeper Jesse Codner as a scramble for the ball ensued and Drew Miriello managed to sneak his way in and found an open Renno who scored.

Anthony Thompson then made his presence felt about five minutes later, marching down field and forcing Codner out of the net before moving the ball over to Josh Sunderland to put the Thunder up, 2-0.

Renno then made another play moving the ball to the outside where Caleb Lucci was waiting and sent a rocket to the back of the net giving Belleville Mennonite a 3-0 lead at the half.

“I would contribute that to being aggressive and winning the first balls, I felt like our defenders did a great job of moving up and keeping them out of the backfield,” Renno said. “Not only that, I thought our attacking players were able to maintain possession in the middle and I thought Quinn dictated a lot of play with his feet and we spread the ball around and opened their defense up.”

Grace Prep came out in the second half with a lot of intensity trying to make a play happen, but every time the Storm tried, the Thunder back line refused to budge, keeping their goal keeper Aiden Reed very relaxed in the net.

But then the freshmen Renno got the offense going again with a deep pass over to Thompson who got a one-on-one with the goalie and won that duel to extend the Thunder lead to 4-0.

Belleville Mennonite earned a corner and Josh Sunderland launched one to Renno who placed it in the net to give the Thunder its fifth goal with as many assists.

Grace Prep managed to slip one by Reed to cut the lead down to 5-1 but Belleville Mennonite quickly got back on track as once again Josh Sunderland took the corner. However, this time the ball bounced off a Grace Prep defender and went into the net to complete the 6-1 victory.

“At halftime I challenged them, saying that we weren’t done yet,” Renno explained. “Grace Prep had a tough loss yesterday and I knew they had some players who can turn the game around for them.”

“But again I felt Anthony came through in the second half,” Renno continued. “His presence in the second half getting past their back four, and I think Thompson helped dictate play and his energy got us though the second half and we were able to finish off three more. Josh Sunderland’s corner kicks were dangerous. We were able to get one off of them, so that’s always a bonus as well.”

Belleville Mennonite travels to face Columbia County Christian on Friday.

Belleville Mennonite 6, Grace Prep 1

FIRST HALF

BMS – Quinn Renno (Drew Miriello), 21:39; BMS – Josh Sunderland (Anthony Thompson), 15:24; BMS – Gabe Lucci (Renno), 6:46

SECOND HALF

BMS – Thompson (Renno), 34:00; BMS – Renno (Sunderland), 21:16; GP – Jesse Codner, 11:44; BMS – Own goal, 10:03.

Shots: BMS 9-2. Corners: BMS 10-2. Saves: BMS-1 (Aiden Reed), GP – 4 (Jesse Codner).

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