Your Prep Sports
SOLON – As last season wore down scoring goals became a struggle for the Solon boys soccer team.
Solon scored three goals or more in six consecutive matches to open the season but had multiple goals in just four of its final 16 matches.
After a frustrating 3-0 loss to Regina in the Class 1A state quarterfinals ended a 16-6 season for the Spartans work began immediately on finding a solution to the offensive issues.
Following an offseason filled with work on finishing in the final third Solon showed off its progress in impressive fashion on Saturday.
Class 1A fifth-ranked Solon scored 24 goals while going 3-0 at its own Spartan Classic at wind-swept Spartan Stadium.
“That was a struggle for us last year and that’s something we wanted to improve on in the offseason,” McMurrin said. “Last year we became stagnant and we became spectators and our creativity off the ball became non-existent and it was much, much better today which is a good place to start for the year.”
Solon defeated Monticello 9-0 in its opener, downed Bellevue Marquette 10-0 and capped its busy season-opening day with a 5-0 win over Mediapolis.
Junior Jorel Justus led an increasingly explosive Solon attack, scoring in each match and finishing Saturday with eight goals.
“I’m pretty happy with the way we played today,” Justus said. “We played well as a team, I think the last game we got a little tired but I think overall we played great as a team together.”
Solon wasn’t bad on offense last season, averaging 2.5 goals per match, but had 38 of its season total of 55 goals come from three players.
On Saturday the Spartans showed off an array of offensive weapons.
Nine different players scored goals in the three wins and six of those had two or more goals.
“I think we have more guys that are capable of putting the ball in the back of the net,” Junior Luke Yetley said. “Everyone is confident in front of the goal so we should have a fair number of players putting up lots of goals this season.”
Yetley and senior midfield Isaac Vang were the top two returning scorers for Solon this season after combining for 26 goals a year ago.
If Saturday is any indication the duo will have plenty of help this season.Justus surpassed his season goal total from a year ago on Saturday with his e
ight goals, five of which came in the season-opening win over Monticello.
He had six all of last season.
Vang had four goals on Saturday and Yetley had three.
“I think we can be a lot better on offense,” Justus said. “We have a lot of guys up top that are playing really well. We all pass, we have great chemistry we all basically love each other.”
Senior Carson Yakish got Solon off to a strong start in the finale against Mediapolis (1-2) with a goal less than two minutes into the game.
Vang made it 2-0 three minutes later and Justus gave the Spartans a 3-0 halftime lead with goal at the 12:30 mark of the opening half.
“Even if it’s not you directly involved just seeing the ball go into the back of the net is a relief,” Yetley said. “That really helps the team moral.”
Solon put the game out of reach in the second half with a pair of goals while working into a strong wind.
Freshman Gabe Yetley scored his second goal of the day just 30 seconds into the second half and senior defender Nick Radcliffe capped the scoring by converting a penalty kick with 17 minutes left.
“Anytime you can come out and score up a bunch of goals and be injury free and get guys a lot of minutes that’s what today is all about,” McMurrin said. “We were able to get the ball in the net which is great, it’s a big thing for our confidence to start the season off with a bunch of goals.”