Gabriel Garcia | The Advocate & Democrat
Sweetwater's Evan Gruenenfelder boots the ball toward the goal past a Grace Baptist Academy defender Friday at Mike Ridley Field.
|Published: 2:47 PM, 05/04/2013
Author: Gabriel Garcia
Source: The Monroe County Advocate
SWEETWATER вЂ” Evan Gruenenfelder reminded everyone watching why he was Sweetwater's leading scorer last season.
Playing seemingly everwhere else on the field most of this spring, the senior made the most of his time back up front on Senior Night, scoring four goals to power the Wildcats past District 5-A/AA visitor Grace Baptist Academy 8-2 Friday at Mike Ridley Field.
The win clinched the district tournament's No. 2 seed for Sweetwater (6-4-3, 3-1-1 District 5-A/AA).
Sammy Baker added two goals, and he first got the Wildcats on the board less than two minutes in with a sailing shot from 30 feet.
J.R. Haley responded for the Chattanooga-based school three minutes later, but Gruenenfelder sprinted up the middle after the ensuing kickoff to put Sweetwater back ahead in a matter of 15 seconds.
Grace (1-7, 0-4) had kept pressure on the Wildcats offensively and defensively for the rest of the first half before Gruenenfelder netted his second goal for a 3-1 lead just before the break by capitalizing on a bad Golden Eagles pass.
"I definitely think we came into this game overconfident," said Sweetwater assistant coach Kip McKeag, referring to Grace's record coming in.
Baker leaped past Grace's goalkeeper less than five minutes into the second half to put Sweetwater up 4-1. Four minutes later, Gruenenfelder knocked in his third from straight away, taking the pass from Baker driving from left field for a 5-1 margin.
Gruenenfelder netted his fourth in the 18th minute of the second half while on his back near the front of the Golden Eagles goal.
According to McKeag, Gruenenfelder can expect to spend the rest of the campaign at forward as part of Sweetwater's recent lineup adjustments, made possible by the maturation of some of the younger players.
"I like what Evan and Tyler Albright do up front," McKeag said. "They create havoc on the defense. Even if they're not finding the net, they get a defense worrying about them so much that they create opportunities for somebody else to come into play, like Sammy."
Harrison Harvey and senior Pablo Reyes each scored near the end.
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