By all admittance, the first time Evergreen played Liberty Center this year was by far NOT their best performance as the Vikings had to come from behind to tie 3-3.
This time in the first round of the Division III sectional, the Vikes left no doubt, as they got a jump start from an unexpected source early in the game to fuel Evergreen to a 6-0 win over the Tigers.
“As a team you can see how far we’ve come along,” stated Evergreen coach Dave Skoczyn. “They understand the bigger picture and you can see they really like being together and they have bought into that aspect. It isn’t about right now when the scoreboard says five or six on our side, it’s about what is still to come.”
Fans had barely found their seats when Evergreen got a corner kick situation not even three minutes into the game.
Freshman Tyson Woodring put his shot on the far side of the net and Austin Lumbrezer finished, scoring just his second goal of the season with a header past Ryan Tonjes for a 1-0 lead.
“He played pretty well didn’t he,” Skoczyn said of his only senior starter. “He’s becoming a soccer player.
“It’s only taken us 14-15 games for him to become a soccer player,” Skoczyn joked. “He actually has played better as the season has gone on and we were joking at practice a couple days ago from where he was the first day of practice and he’s come a long way.”
After that score Evergreen sent shot after shot at Tonjes, but the Tiger keeper turned away four and six more tries were off the mark until just under the 14-minute mark in the first half.
Again it was Austin Lumbrezer starting the play with a takeaway and push forward to Evan Lumbrezer who crossed a pass to Alex Peete.
Peete’s skidding shot seemed to be corraled by Tonjes, but the LC goalie couldn’t secure it as it bounced over him into the net for a score with 13:46 left.
Evergreen added a third score before intermission.
Elijah Hernandez’ free kick was knocked away but Woodring was there for the rebound and found an opening to the back of the net for a 3-0 halftime margin.
The Vikings put the game away with five minutes gone in the second half when Evan Lumbrezer chased down Woodring’s forwarding pass, deked Tonjes with an ankle-breaking move and bumped in the fourth Evergreen goal.
Woodring added one 10 minutes later on a feed from Brady Kanneman, then with Skoczyn subbing liberally the last 25 minutes, Matt Hassen scored on a penalty kick when he was hammered in the box with 10:38 left.
Liberty Center’s best scoring chance came when Asa Killam had a penalty kick chance with 27:44 left but fired wide right against Viking goalie Jon Burnep.
On the day Liberty Center got off 13 shots but only five were at the net, all of which were easy saves for Burnep as Kaden Sanford helped secure a back line that kept the Tigers off the net.
“The teams we played lately: Maumee, Springfield, Whitmer. Those were lessons,” said Skoczyn. “You’ve got to have lessons throughout the season and I told the guys, ‘just be patient we will play a D-III team again’ and they also had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder because of how the game went the first time with the tie. And again the boys have just bought in.”
The Vikings ran into a buzzsaw in the sectional final against state-ranked Maumee Valley. The Hawks jumped out to a 4-0 first half lead and went on to defeat the Vikings 8-4.
Evan Lumbrezer scored the hat trick for Evergreen and Hernandez tallied the fourth Viking goal. Woodring had three assists.
Evergreen finishes with a winning record of 8-6-2 in just their second season of high school soccer.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org