Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – There is a lot that has to go right to score a goal.
Jorel Justus got a painstaking lesson last season in just how trying the goal scoring process can be.
One of the first steps to putting the ball in the back of the net is simply creating a scoring opportunity, something Justus did often last season as a sophomore.
Justus had a team-high 45 shot attempts last year, 40 of which came on goal.
It was the final, most important step of finishing those scoring chances that proved problematic for Justus who converted just six of those opportunities into goals.
“He wanted to score goals and he wanted his team to win and be successful and it just seemed like last year no matter what he did to score it was wrong,” Solon coach Jeremy McMurrin said. “He wanted to pass it in and he’d shank it to the side, it’s all confidence and his confidence wasn’t there.”
This season Justus isn’t lacking for confidence and the days of failing to finish appear long gone.
A week into the season Justus has already nearly doubled his goal total from a season ago, scoring a state-leading 11 goals during the Spartans 4-0 start.
“All summer, every day I would go out with Luke (Yetley) and Bennett (Meier) and shoot and shoot and shoot,” Justus said. “One on one we would just take shots and we had that summer league also and that really helped having real game situations and be able to shoot and shoot and shoot in games.”
All the work on finishing is paying off for Justus big time this season.
He scored five goals in a season-opening win over Monticello and has hardly slowed since.
The junior forward has scored in all four Solon matches this season and is coming off a three-goal performance against Liberty High on Tuesday.
“Last year I was looking for guys like Ben and Luke because they were really putting them away and this year I knew I had to try to take over some of Ben’s spot,” Justus said. “I knew I had to step up and be a good striker.”
For Justus stepping into the role of the team’s top scorer started with confidence.
That confidence was forged out of hours and hours of work mostly centered on finishing around the goal.
He is confident right now and he should be because he put in the work” McMurrin said. He and his friends are out here all summer long. They were kicking them off the turf telling them they had to go home.”
After converting on 13 percent of his scoring opportunities a year ago Justus has scored 11 times on 16 shots this season.
Justus also has a pair of assists this season helping Solon average eight goals per game.
“I don’t think I could pin point one thing that he does well because he does just about everything well,” McMurrin said. “He’s not the fastest kid but he’s not slow, he can out run you. He does everything really well.”