GODFREY — As the first half of Saturday’s L&C men’s soccer alumni game was ending, Kaleb Bassett offered a critique to his father, former L&C great Roshan Bassett.
“Hey pop,” the smiling L&C sophomore quipped, “you’re kind of struggling out there.”
While the good-natured teasing was accepted with a grain of salt by Roshan Bassett, he and the rest of the men’s alumni team showed they still had the right stuff - just maybe for not as long at a time.
This season’s Trailblazers posted victories in the men’s and women’s alumni games at Tim Rooney Stadium, but received plenty of push back from the former L&C players. The L&C men defeated the alumni 4-1, while the women held on for a 3-2 win.
“It’s a chance to get the team on the field in a game situation,” Hodge said. “Kind of an unofficial start to the season, a chance to see the players together in game situations.”
The L&C women will play preseason games against McKendree, Allen County, Iowa Lakes and Greenville College before starting the regular season in a two-game tourney in Wichita, Kansas. Their first Region 24 game will be against first-year team Lincoln Trail College Sept. 4 in Robinson, Illinois.
The L&C men have preseason games scheduled against UMSL and McKendree before starting the regular season Aug. 23 at home against Marshalltown, Iowa.
At Saturday’s alumni games, the halves were shortened to 30 minutes, in deference to the heat and a “possible” lack of conditioning by the former Trailblazers.
“The alumni always give a good game,” L&C men’s coach Ryan Hodge said. “They might not be in game shape, but they’re smart and they know how to make the ball do a lot of the work.
“After all, they played at Lewis and Clark. They’re gonna know the game.”
Some Basset father/son trash talking began some time ago, according to Roshan Bassett, who was an NJCAA All-America at L&C and a graduate of Civic Memorial High.
“Kaleb started giving it to me a while ago,” Roshan Bassett said. “I told him he’s a lot better player than I am now and I’m very proud of him. But I still know how to play.”
Indeed. Roshan Bassett spent much of the day up top and didn’t spend much time in direct contact with his son, which may have been a blessing in disguise for both when it came to keeping peace in the family.
“It’s always fun,” said Tim Rooney, the L&C women’s soccer coach and the namesake of the school’s soccer stadium. “I coached all the girls and most of the guys, so it’s a good chance to stay in touch. We kid around, but when the games start, you can tell both teams play to win.
“The current players get a chance to connect with those players who were here before them.”
Midway through the first half of the women’s game, alumni player Kourtney Pinkerton sent a direct free kick from about 30 yards just inches above the crossbar. She looked over at Rooney and shouted, “Hey Rooney, did you see that?”
He replied, “Yeah, that’s why I wasn’t worried.”
The Trailblazers women’s team led 2-0 at halftime on goals by Emma Lucas and Boitumelo Rabale.
Rabale made it 3-0 early in the second half, but the alumni closed the gap on goals by Roxanne Strange and Karly Gray.
“The alumni did a good job, Rooney said. “We’re a young team and they had a lot of younger alumni players this year. You can tell they still can play.”
The L&C men got goals from Reshaun Walkes, Matthew Vieira, Luke Mellon and Tony Bodul in their win.
“It’s fun,” Hodge said, “but we want the alumni to play hard and we know they will.”
Include Hodge and assistant coach Tim Findall in that alumni group. Both are former Trailblazers who played for Rooney. The two combined for the only alumni goal late in the first half Saturday. Hodge took the ball up the middle and sent it to Findall, who finished the rush with a goal that made it 2-1 at halftime.
“That’s two miles the varsity has to run at practice,” Hodge said. “We told them if a coach scores or gets an assist, they run a mile.”
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