Luke used his force Thursday.
St. Stephens sophomore forward Luke Bruce scored four goals in the first half and assisted on another goal in the second half, leading the Indians to a 5-2 win over Newton-Conover on the soccer field.
“I don’t know where that came from,” said Indians coach Chris Nelson of Bruce’s performance. “He kept telling me he wanted to play forward. I didn’t believe him. He went up at the Crest game and had two goals and two assists. I felt obligated to start him at forward again. He’s done well for us.”
Bruce said he used an speech by one of his teammates at the start of the game to help motivate him to do his best.
“At the beginning of the game, our captain, Logan Barkley, gave us a good inspirational speech about his dad in the hospital,” Bruce said. “He is battling cancer right now and struggling. He told us to win it for his dad. We all got pumped up, came together and prayed. We just came together as a team, worked hard and talked on the field.”
The Indians (2-0-0) took the early 4-0 at halftime behind four goals from Bruce, but the Red Devils (6-2-1) rallied to try and tie the game.
Coming out of the break, N-C’s Chandler Johnson ended the shut out, scoring from the left side of the field to make it 4-1.
Moments later, Bruce was looking for an unprecedented fifth goal and delivered a strong kick, which fell out of goalkeeper Hunter Nestor’s hands and off the foot of Fernando Munoz-Trejo for the Indians fifth score.
Newton-Conover scored one more goal by Franklin Wepner, but couldn’t overcome the three-goal deficit.
Both teams open conference soccer play on Monday. Newton-Conover hosts South Iredell, while St. Stephens travels to Alexander Central.