For a team that has struggled at the start of matches, Monday was the perfect scenario for Scotus Central Catholic boys soccer to begin exorcising some of those demons.
The Shamrocks may have chased some away in a 10-0 win over Seward that included seven goals in the first half and goals by seven different players
Scotus gave up the first goal in each of the previous two games leading into the first round of the subdistrict tournament against 0-13 Seward. The Shamrocks have allowed the first one in the back of the net in nine of 15 matches and only won three of those.
There was no need for a comeback on Monday when senior Ross Thorson put Scotus up 1-0 just six minutes in. Scotus led 3-0 before the match was 20 minutes old and hopes to have built some momentum for a rematch with Schuyler in the subdistrict final.
"It's pretty nice when everyone gets to contribute to a win," Thorson said. Other players who don't usually get to play too many minutes or don't get to score, when they get some goals, that's big for us."
Thorson the first and the third goal of the afternoon. Chance Bailey scored the second and fourth. Matt Dolezal had the fifth and eighth. Carter Filipi, Frank Fehringer, Evan Kiene and Bryce Follette each had single goals.
Thorson then Baily, Thorson again, Baily again, Dolezal, Filipi and Fehringer gave Scotus a huge lead at halftime. Dolezal made it 8-0 12 minutes into the second half. Kiene and Follette scored late and prevented the match from going full time though only barely. It had gone past 70 minutes when Follette's score put the mercy rule into effect.
"It's a confidence builder, for sure. We have a lot of young kids on this team. Going forward, the future is bright," coach PJ Miller said. "We lose Ross (Thorson) and Matt (Dolezal), but everybody is back. That many goals by that many players is big for this year and the years to come."
The win gave Scotus its sixth in a row and made the Shamrocks 10-6 after suffering back-to-back humbling losses to Class A teams in Omaha in mid-April.
The Shamrocks felt they benefitted from those setbacks right away, as shown by the winning streak, and have turned a corner since then in terms of understanding.
"I wasn't too worried," Thorson said. "Every year we play Class A teams, and sometimes they put us in our place, but we always find a way back. We've got to do that to be ready for times like this."
Times like this mean Tuesday's subdistrict final match against Schuyler. The Shamrocks defeated the Warriors 3-2 on April 22 in the second match following that trip to Omaha.
Schuyler was in the midst of a three-match losing streak at that point. Neither has lost since the meeting in Schuyler just about two weeks ago.
Scotus will almost assuredly need a win to stay alive in the postseason. Though SCC earned the top seed on the subdistrict bracket, Monday's victory cost the Shamrocks in the wildcard standings since the Bluejays came in 0-13. The win was worth the minimum amount of wildcard points and lowered the Scotus average.
The Shamrocks entered Tuesday's match 13th in the standings. A loss could knock Scotus out of Saturday's district final round or, at the least, mean a match No. 1 Skutt, No. 2 Lexington or No. 6 Beatrice - the top three teams in the standings. Schuyler is sixth in the standings and likely to move as long as there are not a multitude of upsets at the top of the table. There's also a scenario the two will meet again on Saturday for a trip to Omaha.
Be sure to check online (columbustelegram.com) for immediate scores and results or in Thursday's edition for a story on the match.
"We've definitely got a lot more chemistry now than we had at the beginning of the season. We have a lot of sophomores and freshmen and didn't come together as well at the start," Thorson said. "Now that we've been playing more together, we're starting to find that chemistry."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.