Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Few factors can change the momentum in a soccer match in the same way as an early goal.
It was a quick score that sparked Solon in a non-conference win over Liberty High on Tuesday but it was a goal the Spartans allowed rather than scored that switched the momentum at snow-swept Spartan Stadium.
Class 1A fifth-ranked Solon scored seven unanswered goals after a quick Liberty High strike to open the match and cruised to an 8-2 win over the Lightning on a cold, blustery and snowy evening in Solon.
“It was a big wakeup call right away and from then on we were really good,” Solon coach Jeremy McMurrin said. “Once that slap in the face came we were alright after that.”
Liberty High (1-1) took the lead on a Kolby Godbolt lead less than eight minutes into the game but Solon responded with three goals in less than two minutes and never let up while improving to 4-0.
Jorel Justus scored three goals and had an assist on the Luke McInnis equalizer that started a string of seven unanswered Spartan goals.
“We weren’t really excited to start the game and then after that they scored that goal we got going,” McInnis said. “We pounded a couple in real quick there and after you score a goal you always on that high and you are ready to go.”
It didn’t take Liberty High long to provide the Spartans with a wakeup call courtesy Godbolt.
The freshman standout took advantage of some miscommunication from the Solon back line, picked off a pass and slipped a shot past keeper Eric Weetman to put Liberty High up less than eight minutes into the game.
“The last thing I said to them is we have to go out and start fast because we have a tendency sometimes to bury ourselves in a hole and that’s what happened,” McMurrin said. “We had a bad pass and that guy finished it like he’s a pro, that kid is good.”
Allowing an early goal can sometimes take a team out of the game.
The quick score from Godbolt had the opposite effect on the Spartans on Tuesday.
Four minutes after Goldbolt have the Lightning an early lead Solon pulled even when McInnis knocked in a nearly perfectly placed corner kick from Justus.
Justus sent a high arching ball toward the back post where McInnis gently brushed it into the corner of the goal to even the score at 1-1 in the 12th minute.
“We had a really good corner kick, it was right on point and I was just in the right place at the right time and I was able to tap it in,” McInnis said. “I was so close to the line that I just had to tap it in.”
The goal from McInnis opened the floodgates for Solon.
Justus gave the Spartans their first lead just 23 seconds later with the first of his three goals.
Less than two minutes elapsed before McInnis scored again, this time off a feed from freshman Gabe Yetley to make it 3-1 Solon.
“The equalizer is always the most important goal,” McInnis said. “Once we got that goal we were ready to go and we knew what we had to do.”
Bennett Meier, Luke Yetley and Gabe Yetley all scored goals in the final 23 minutes of the opening half to give Solon a 6-1 halftime cushion.
“We didn’t come out with the high intensity that we needed,” Luke Yetley said. “As soon as we got scored on we switched that around and scored quite a few in a short amount of time.
Justus scored a pair of second half goals sandwiched around another impressive goal from Godbolt to account for the 8-2 final.
Justus capped the scoring and completed the hat trick with a goal with in the 67th minute that pushed his season total to 11.
“I think it’s our midfield,” Justus tabbed as the reason for his offensive success. “They are really strong, they can pass, they all have great chemistry and they are setting me up perfectly.”
Solon has scored 32 goals while starting the season with four consecutive wins and has at least five goals in each match.
Five different Solon players had goals on Tuesday and 10 Spartans have scored this season.
“For some reason this year it’s just clicking,” McMurrin said. “Luke McInnis hasn’t been very offensive in his freshman and sophomore year and he is this year. Bennett is offensive, Isaac is coming into this own and Jorel is putting the ball in. It’s coming from everywhere and that’s great.”