BEREA -- The Pirates came to battle on Tuesday in a rain-soaked physical game against Whitley County.
Despite taking the lead and dominating possession in the first half, Berea (1-4-1) ran out of gas after the Colonels (1-1) rallied and pulled away for a 6-4 win.
The Pirates went on the attack as soon as the whistle was blown.
Edwin Ricco took possession of the ball and sped down the field to score a quick goal in the first five minutes of the game.
"We came out and we were ready. We hit the gas pedal and just rammed it down their throats and scored quick," Berea coach Mitchell Plowman recalled after the game.
However, that early lead didn't last long.
"I think (with that early goal) we underestimated them. We started thinking that we can't be touched and Whitley County capitalized on that," Plowman explained.
The Colonels regrouped and launched a fierce and physical driving attack on the unsuspecting Pirates, scoring back-to-back goals.
"Our heads sank a little bit after that and the momentum definitely changed in Whitley County's favor. The first half ended up definitely being Whitley County's game," Plowman said.
The Colonels took a 3-1 lead into halftime, as the rain started to pour.
Whitely County took advantage of slippery conditions and kept attacking as the physicality stepped up exponentially and yellow and red cards started flying.
"They were playing hard and the refs and coaches got heated with each other, but my team made me very proud in the second half. They have grown so much… They didn't let the emotions get to them," Plowman explained.
The Pirates fought back on the field.
With the Pirates trailing, 5-1 Ricco once again took control of the ball and used a slippery field to his advantage to outmaneuver several Colonel defenders.
The sophomore striker then surprised the Whitley County goalie, who had moved out of the box to defend, by playing the ball in the air and landed an impressive kick to send it sailing squarely into the abandoned net.
That shot tipped the scales a bit and it was the Pirates who capitalized.
JP Wideman scored back-to-back goals in five minutes to edge the Pirates closer, 5-4.
On his last goal, the junior swept past defenders and took advantage of the Whitely County goalie dropping the ball.
Wideman kicked the ball past the goalie to give the Pirates a fighting chance.
"The boys have grown so much in the past week. Last week, we were ready to fight and throw punches when we were frustrated by calls and today they channeled that emotion into great plays," Plowman said.
With five minutes left in the game, Ricco once again made an attempt but the shot hit the corner bar of the net.
Minutes later the Colonels took advantage of a break in the rain to drive the ball down the field and score their final goal and seal the win.
"I'm proud of how they played in the second half," Plowman said of his team. "At the end of the day, the second half was a 3-3 draw. It was a lot of great soccer. We just need to work on keeping our tempo up the whole game and finishing."
The Pirates will take on North Bullitt next on Saturday in Sheperdsville.