The Rolla soccer team (1-0, 1-0 OC) hosted Parkview for their home opener and first Ozark Conference game on Tues Sept. 5. Jarret Gabriele put on a show for the Bulldogs with a hat trick in the 5-0 victory.
Rolla got out to a slow start on Tuesday, but once they hit they gas they were off to the races. The first 15 minutes were pretty quiet and Rolla wasn't able to make any strong runs. The Bulldogs hadn't played any soccer since their third place finish in the Pacific Tournament on Thursday, Aug. 31 and they looked like it.
"We played like we hadn't practiced for four days," said head coach Mike Howard. "We gave them some time off after that long week last week and we knew we'd start slow and we did. Once we got going, we played pretty well."
Pretty well might be a bit of an understatement. Rolla started ripping off goals, starting with Gabriele in the 17th minute off an assist by Carson Arnold. After 10 minutes of scoreless soccer, Rolla scored two goals in the blink of an eye. Gabriele nearly added his second goal when he was crammed in a contested keeper zone, but a save bounced toward Mohammad Alamaldein, who knocked it in for a goal in the 27th minute. Then, less than a minute later, Gabe Stanislawski scored on an assist bu Adeeb Masseri. Rolla would carry that 3-0 lead into the half.
As the game went on, Rolla got their bench involved to keep everyone fresh. But the bench merely gave Gabriele a chance to catch his breath before he put the final nails in the coffin to bury Parkview. The junior scored a pair of unassisted goals in the 44th and 78th minute to cap off the 5-0 win. Gabriele was glad to have a great game, but he was also looking ahead to a tough matchup against Jeff City on Wednesday.
"We came out pretty slow, but if we can pick it up like that every game, we're gonna be a hard team to beat," said Gabriele. "It feels pretty great, now we just have to worry about tomorrow."
Coach Howard was glad to see his team get off to a good start in the Ozark Conference, but there's still a lot of soccer to be played with teams like Glendale down the road.
"You've definitely gotta win your home games, so it's good to get that going," said Howard. "Conference is a long stretch, nine games. So we pretty much just take those as they come along."
Rolla faced off against Jeff City on Wednesday, but results were not available at press time. The Bulldogs will then get a week off before they face West Plains on Wednesday, Sept. 13.