By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
The Rams soccer team shook off a slow start and hammered Centralia 7-0 Thursday.
“The first 15 minutes I don’t know where we were,” Mt. Vernon coach Jeff Harrison said. “We weren’t here.”
Braydon Riley scored twice in the game. Six different Mt. Vernon players scored goals. Sam Reese notched Mt. Vernon’s final goal of the game on a breakaway and added a pair of assists.
“We needed a good dose of confidence, especially for a few certain guys,” Harrison said. “They’ve been working their butt off. They want to see the result on the scoreboard.”
Gerardo Juaristi started the Rams’ scoring when he followed up a rebound with a shot that hit the back of the net 12 minutes into the game. Riley tallied the first of his goals when he controlled a cross from Reese in the penalty area. Riley quickly touched the ball to his right foot and fired a shot into the upper corner of the goal. The score helped Mt. Vernon to a 2-0 halftime lead.
Mt. Vernon’s defensive unit limited Centralia’s offensive chances, and goalie J.J. Weigel finished the game with two saves.
Anthony Reitz started the Rams’ second-half scoring barrage when he corralled a bouncing ball inside the penalty area and knocked a shot past the Centralia goalie. Riley added another goal two minutes later to push the advantage to 4-0. Dalton McGowen, Zach Swinnen and Reese all scored in the final 20 minutes.
“The second half we were solid on both ends of the ball,” Harrison said. “(We were) very effective with creating opportunities and finishing and really effective with shutting down anytime they wanted to get on the attack.”
Mt. Vernon is 6-9 this season.