By Drew Karpen
Soccer may be known as a defensive game, but don’t mention that to the Conneaut boys soccer team.
The Eagles went against the grain on Wednesday afternoon, trouncing West Middlesex 11-0 during a Region 1 contest in Linesville.
Conneaut head coach Alan Wise stressed aggressiveness before the game, and his team delivered.
“This was being aggressive, wanting to win, and believing you can win, and going out and actually doing it,” Wise said.
Other than four short-lived possessions by West Middlesex in Conneaut territory, the Eagles spent the entire first half in the Big Reds’ territory. Conneaut’s dominance was proven with seven goals in the first 40 minutes.
Junior striker Tyler Bone scored the first of many goals in a span of 15 minutes for the Eagles (7-3-1, 4-2 Region 1). Bone’s pass from Tanner Dittrich found the back of the net, just outside of the reach of West Middlesex goalkeeper Ethan Thompson.
It would take just two minutes for Bone to strike again. After Thompson could not secure the ball off Brandon Jackson’s foot, Bone found himself in the right place at the right time, tapping it in for his second goal of the game.
“We were on today,” Bone said. “Mainly our passing was working, but we got lucky sometimes too.”
The combination of skill and luck did not go away anytime soon for Conneaut.
Two minutes later, Bones decided to spread the wealth by floating a pass into the box for Dittrich, who scored to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
West Middlesex (0-10, 0-5) did not cross midfield until 11 minutes into the contest, but it had nothing to show for it.
Conneaut continued the scoring at the 25:02 mark in the first half when Richard Moore kicked a dribbler that found the back of the net after it tipped off the goalie’s hands.
A minute later, Bone completed the hat trick, trickling a shot off Thompson’s hands again for a 5-0 lead.
The unfortunate series of events continued for the Big Reds goalkeeper, who allowed another ball to go through his hands, this time off the foot of Dittrich.
West Middlesex had its first scoring threat with four minutes remaining in the half when Chris Mastrianno dribbled the ball into the box, only to have his shot blocked out of bounds.
The Eagles would score their last goal of the first half with less than a minute remaining. This time, some nifty dribbling and a nice shot from Cody Zinz led to the goal.
In the second half, West Middlesex tried a change in goalie, bringing in Lucas Combine. He suffered the same fate as Thompson.
The Eagles scored four goals in the second half, and one of those tallies was by Dittrich. The goal gave Conneaut two players in the game with a hat trick.
“It feels good to get a hat trick, let alone two in one game,” Bone said. “It was an awesome feeling.”
Also having a stellar game for the Eagles were Jackson with one goal and four assists and Moore with two goals.
“Everyone did well today,” Wise said. “I am pleased. The communication was there. They knew that it was all right to make a mistake because your teammates will back you up.”
With eight games remaining on the schedule, Wise and the Eagles hope this game can propel them to their ultimate goal — the playoffs.
“We are turning over a new leaf,” Wise said. “I like the results of how we are playing. We will let the chips fall where they may and hopefully we get some postseason experience.”