On Saturday, in a Division III boys sectional soccer final, Oberlin got it done.
It may not have been a work of art, or exactly how Oberlin coach Matt Fox drew it up, but the Phoenix scored three times inside a five-minute span of the first half, and added a pair of late second-half goals to defeat Villa Angela-St. Joseph 5-0.
Oberlin (12-3-1) will host a district semifinal Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Independence, which ousted Columbia 4-0 on Saturday.
“It was a good start and a good finish, but the in between we’ll have to take a look at,” Fox said. “We lost a starter to injury early on, and I think we got a little comfortable after the three quick (goals), but that’s not a good habit to have. We have to start hard and go hard all the way to the final whistle.”
Junior midfielder Sam Weiss put the Phoenix on the board at the 28:40 mark of the first half, weaving through several Vikings defenders on the left side of the box and slipping the ball past goalie Connor Gail.
Less than two minutes later, senior Nick Hudnell drilled a shot from the top right of the box, which Gail made a dive for but failed to stop.
Then, on a corner kick with 23:36 left before halftime, Weiss hit senior forward Cyrus Newlin on the inbound and Newlin lifted a shot over the outstretched arms of Gail from 25 yards out to make it 3-0.
“Coming in we knew that this wouldn’t be too tough of a game, but we didn’t want to play like that,” Weiss said. “We saw what they did against similar opponents this year, ones that we beat easily, but we didn’t want to look past them. I thought this was a good way to get the tournament started.”
Oberlin’s offense was quiet for most of the second half, but with 3:13 to play Weiss fired a shot on the run from 20 feet out on the right side of the Vikings box to make it 4-0. He picked up his second assist of the game with just 11 seconds to play when he found Newlin, who found the net for his second goal of the day.
“We went through phases during the game and tried not to play so direct in the second half,” Newlin said. “But we wanted to turn it back up in the last five minutes and get some practice in on some things that we’ll need to be able to do as we move forward in the tournament. It got a little physical out there, but we held our composure and played through it.”
Oberlin outshot VASJ 14-5, while senior goalkeeper Joshua Kocsis recorded a pair of saves. Freshman goalie Dante LaRiccia closed out the final 18 minutes for the Phoenix.
VASJ’s best scoring opportunity came at the 23:17 mark of the second half on a penalty kick, but Vikings senior Keenan Mac’s shot went wide left to keep the shutout intact.
“We had a little time off since our last game, and I was even looking at not taking the bye and playing in the first round because of that,” Fox said. “But we had a pretty productive week of training and a chance to get a couple of guys healthy. We’ll take it and move on.”
Contact John McDermott at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.