It's a common refrain in high school soccer. Coaches or players say they won or lost a game because they did or did not finish their scoring opportunities.
The Neuqua Valley boys walked off its field Thursday a 2-0 winner over Metea Valley grateful it converted two scoring chances in a game in which neither team held a firm grip on the momentum.
"I thought we had a better work rate than against St. Charles East (5-1 season-opening loss Tuesday) and even though we did not have as much possession as we would like, we didn't panic," said Neuqua coach Skip Begley.
And when a team doesn't have a momentum advantage, playmakers come in handy in a big way.
Senior forward Ryan Ross scored both goals for Neuqua (1-1, 1-1 Upstate Eight Valley) and sophomore goalkeeper Brady Moody was tested often by the Metea offense, finishing with 8 saves.
Ross, who will continue playing soccer next year at Bowling Green State University, scored first just less than 11 minutes into the game and then with 10:50 left until halftime.
Junior Mike Moser assisted on the first goal, with Jack Schoonenberg making the setup on the second.
"On the first goal I was able to put the ball in front of the net and there were spaces between players. On the second goal I cut in real quick and looked up and it (the net) was wide open," Ross said. "To get that first goal in high school soccer is so important to momentum."
Metea, playing in its season opener, had its own scoring opportunities and tested Moody.
Junior Michael Adams put the most pressure on Moody in the first half, with Moody stopping an Adams shot close to the net and making two diving saves to stop Adams' other chances.
Just 49 seconds into the second half, Metea's Jakub Celinski went on a breakaway and outsprinted a last defender. Moody came out to meet him, cutting off his angle and making the save.
It's Moody's first season on varsity.
"I love it. It's an amazing feeling when you make a save and the crowd is shouting your name," he said.
Metea coach Josh Robinson said facing Neuqua gave the Mustangs a sense of what they need to do to be as competitive as they can with a season ahead of them.
"It was opening day. It's always tough to have a rival game be the first game, but we know of things we need to work on and it's a long season.
"Neuqua scored on two mistakes and I thought it was an even contest the rest of the way. In the second half we needed to press and push forward, and once we did that we started getting behind the Neuqua defense," he said.