Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Conference races were decided and postseason pairings set before Solon and Williamsburg met in the regular season finale for both teams on Tuesday.
There was still plenty on the line for the Spartans.
Solon needed to snap a two-match losing skid, build some momentum for the postseason and send its seniors home happy on senior night.
Class 1A second-ranked Solon did all that and then some with a dominating 3-0 win over third-ranked Williamsburg in a top-three WAMAC showdown at Spartan Stadium.
“This was really important,” Solon junior Jorel Justus said. “It stops a losing streak, gives us confidence going into next week and just makes us feel good. It makes us feel like we can do it, we can go to state two years in a row.”
Justus scored a pair of goals to up his team-leading total to 20 and freshman Gabe Yetley added a goal as Solon improved to 13-5 on the season.
Williamsburg had a two-match winning streak end with the loss and dropped to 10-3 on the season while be shut out for just the second time this season.
“It was very important for us to get momentum going into the postseason,” Solon coach Jeremy McMurrin said. “It was so important for us to play well today.”
Solon (13-5) entered Tuesday’s regular season finale riding a two-match losing skid that started with a penalty kick loss at top-ranked Regina before a head-scratching 3-1 setback at then four-win Vinton-Shellsburg.
With its postseason opener less than a week away Solon was searching for a boost before substate play.
The spark the Spartans needed came early via a left-footed goal from Yetley in the 21st minute.
“I think it was a motivator for the rest of the team to go out there and score some more,” Yetley said. “It made us want to keep going.”
The biggest momentum swing of the match came in the final seven minutes of the opening half.
Williamsburg junior Leighton Jones got loose on a breakaway and had a one-on-one opportunity with Solon keeper Eric Weetman in the 34th minute.
Weetman came up with a save on a Jones shot from inside eight yards to preserve the 1-0 Spartan lead.
Less than two minutes later Justus hammered home a shot from just inside the box to put Solon up 2-0 at the half.
“It was a pretty even game I would say and then we kind of just woke up I guess, something clicked inside of us,” Justus said. “We started getting our passes off, we started clicking we were doing great and getting attacks and we were finding their weak spots and taking advantage of them.”
Solon never let Williamsburg get back into the match.
Justus capped the scoring in the 77th minute with his second goal of the match.
“We just relaxed and pressured them and took what they gave us,” McMurrin said. “The outside was open and we used that, we found the space in the middle and we held our shape which was great. It was a combination of all of that and it was perfect for us today.”
Solon opens postseason play by hosting Highland (1-10) on Monday at 7 p.m.
The Spartans will enter that game on a high after its third win over a ranked opponent this season.
“Yes it would be nice come out here and play a team that is maybe not as good and get some goals but it’s also good to get a challenge,” Justus said. “Number two and number three it was a great match it was fun.”