Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Scoring goals is never an easy task.
Over the past three weeks converting goals has hovered somewhere between extremely difficult and almost impossible for Solon.
The class 1A fifth-ranked Spartans are hoping a nine-goal explosion against Vinton-Shellsburg (0-11) on Friday drops that degree of difficulty significantly as the postseason approaches.
Six different players scored goals Friday as Solon (13-5) set a season high goal total in a 9-0 win over the Vikings on a sunny senior night at Spartan Stadium.
“If it breaks the seal and lets us start putting the ball away, great,” Solon coach Jeremy McMurrin said. “We just have to keep shooting the ball because we are getting the opportunities we are just not putting them away. You just keep plugging away and they will go in eventually.”
Scoring wasn’t a problem for Solon early in the season.
The Spartans put up 37 goals in their first 12 matches and failed to score in just two matches during that span.
Solon didn’t have any trouble finding the net on Friday as Isaac Vang scored 53 seconds into the match and Solon built a 6-0 halftime lead.
“We were getting complacent winning 1-0 or 2-1 and we want to be more aggressive and try to score five or six goals and I know we can do that,” Solon senior Ben Carr said. “Our energy goes down sometimes when we score a goal or we get frustrated if we aren’t scoring and that needs to get fixed as we go into the postseason.”
In between that 12-match stretch to start the season and Friday’s explosion all Solon found on offensive was frustration.
Solon scored just four goals in five matches over the last three weeks, a stretch that included back-to-back matches with Mount Vernon and Regina that were decided by penalty kicks.
Despite the struggles on offense Solon went 3-2 during that five-match stretch.
“If you do things the right way like you are supposed to good things will eventually happen,” McMurrin said. “You get frustrated but you have to just have faith that if you do it the right way it will happen.”
Things certainly happened for Solon on Friday.
Vang, Luke Yetley and senior Anthony Bullard each scored a pair of goals as Solon scored more than two goals for the third time in its last 12 matches.
“Hopefully it gets the movement up top and gets the chemistry of passing and expecting your teammate to be there and then finishing,” Bullard said. “It should go a long way with helping with that.”
Vang gave Solon the lead less than a minute into the match and Carr made it 2-0 with his 11th goal of the season in the 14th minute.
Solon then put things away early with three goals in a span of a little more than two minutes with two coming from Bullard who normally starts in the Solon back line.
“Coach just gave me the opportunity and put me up top and told me just to stay on that last defender and do what we have done all year in practice,” Bullard said. “I have practiced some forward here and there throughout the season just in case.”
Bullard scored the second and third goals of his career in a span of less than two minutes to put Solon up 4-0.
Yetley and Nick Radcliffe added first-half goals as Solon took a 6-0 halftime lead.
“It’s good to get our confidence up going into the postseason,” Carr said. “Hopefully a game like this will help us as we go forward.”
Vang, Yetley and Jorel Justus had second-half goals for the Spartans which honored its four seniors before the game.
Seniors Carr, Bullard, Cole Paisley and Nathan Carbaugh all saw extensive action in the 9-0 win.
“It’s nice on senior night to get a win and all those guys a chance to play,” McMurrin said. “Nate has never played in a varsity game and he played 60 minutes tonight and that’s great for him, he will remember that forever.”