Although it may have taken awhile (20:14) to register their first goal, after that Swanton never let up in a 6-1 win over visiting Liberty Center to kick off the Northwest Ohio Athletic League boys soccer season Tuesday.
“The game went really well,” said head coach Joe Hensley. “We changed formation from Saturday (6-1 loss to Toledo Christian) and moved some guys around. I thought we played really well at both ends of the field. Starting with the defense, they played some of their best soccer in a while. We are starting two sophomore players who don’t have much experience on the back line — Ryan O’Shea and Logan Pelland — and they did a fantastic job on the outside for us. My two center backs are junior Reese Oberheim and senior Brier Cook. These two guys played fantastic and Brier did a really good job of leading the defense. The combination play through the midfield was exceptional and getting the ball forward to our strikers was executed well.
“We had three goal scorers on the day so it was nice getting a lot of players involved in the game.”
The Bulldogs were led by Hayden Callicotte’s hat trick.
They first gained the lead off the foot of Callicotte.
On a perfectly-placed deep crossing pass from Victor Swain, Callicotte put it in the back of the net to give the Dogs a 1-0 lead with 16:46 left in the first half.
Shortly after, with just under 13 minutes remaining, the sophomore booted one out of the air in what was almost a bicycle kick, finding the upper left-hand corner of the net for a 2-0 Swanton advantage.
Their third goal came by way of a penalty kick converted by Hugo Bejarano not even a minute later.
The margin would be 4-0 at the break following a third Callicotte goal. He would get free in front and hammer a shot past the LC goalkeeper at the 4:56 mark.
“Hayden Callicotte is an exceptional player up top for us. He can do so many things with the ball at his feet,” said Hensley. “We weren’t sure how he was gonna be able to keep the momentum he had last year with the graduation of Riley Hensley, because those two fed off one another so well. Other guys have stepped up and when Hayden can click with these guys and can move the ball he can be a dangerous threat going to goal.”
The Dogs only let their foot off the gas for a short time at the start of the second before extending the lead. With 26:16 remaining, Zach Wernsing weaved his way around the Tiger keeper and put one in the net for a 5-0 margin.
The Tigers did get a goal at the 19:22 mark. However, Swanton got it back 28 seconds later when Bejarano converted a breakaway, equalling the final tally.
Swanton (1-1, 1-0 NWOAL) is at Springfield (0-1) tonight at 7 p.m.