Cor Jesu soccer coach Missy Bruno knew her team was special after the first day of practice.
“I can feel it, it’s a feeling we’ve had all season long from the get-go,” she said. “They really do have something special.”
That something ignited the Chargers to their 11th straight win on Tuesday with a 2-0 victory over Fort Zumwalt West in the sectional contest. Cor Jesu will face Pattonville on Saturday.
Sophomore Mia Zanaboni scored in the first 65 seconds, knocking one in on the top right side of the goal.
“We say first five (minutes) every game, and they came out in a 1:05, so I couldn’t ask for anything quicker than that,” Bruno said.
Cor Jesu was in control of the ball almost the entire game, but senior goaltender Sam Bersett made a big save with nine minutes left.
“That’s a good team, that’s a hard-working team, very, very hard,” Bruno said about Fort Zumwalt West. “Thankfully Sam (Bersett) was there; we always feel confident with her back there, our defense kept it tight. They got a few chances and luckily the ball didn’t go in.”
Two minutes later, fellow sophomore Lauren Merlo made a great run, turned the corner and curved it right in over the goalie’s head, securing a Charger victory.
“Both Mia and Lauren have been phenomenal up top for us this year,” Bruno said. “They work so hard, it seems like they never run out of gas and both of them put ‘em away in big-time games. For a sophomore to do that, the future’s looking pretty too up top.”
The Chargers improved to 20-2 on the season with the victory.
“We’re No. 1, we’re the team to beat, it's on our shoulders, the girls feel the pressure, and I just tell them, 'We play our game,'” Bruno said. “We’re just working hard one game at a time and trying to get it done.”