In a big game with district tournament implications, The Community School boys' varsity soccer team trounced the Wendell Trojans 7-2 Monday afternoon at Browning Field, Elkhorn at Sun Valley.
Leading scorer Wes Flanigan (16 goals) tallied a three-goal hat trick while Austin Grill, Connor Brown, Travis Stone (13 goals) and Kevin Wade added single goals for coach Richard Whitelaw's Cutthroats. The home team out-shot Wendell 24-10.
"Man of the Match" was sophomore midfielder Spencer Harris. But it was also a special day for freshman Grill, sophomore Brown and senior defender Wade, who each scored their first goals of the season.
And it was Wade's first-ever varsity goal.
By sweeping the season series over last year's district runner-up and state tournament qualifier Wendell (5-3-3, 4-3-3 league), the Cutthroats moved into position of determining their own fate in their quest for the second seed in the closely-contested six-team Fourth District 3A soccer meet.
All the Cutthroats (7-7-1 overall, 4-1-1 home, 6-3 league) need to earn a weekend off is to beat or tie the Buhl Tribe in the final regular-season home game Thursday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. at Browning Field.
Assuming Buhl defeated Filer Tuesday, Buhl still trailed The Community School 18-15 in the league tiebreaker standings and could earn the second seed with a three-point win Thursday in Elkhorn. Buhl in that case would tie the Cutthroats 18-18 in points and earn the nod because of beating the Sun Valley boys 3-0 at Buhl Sept. 13.
By beating or tying Buhl, the Cutthroats would host the winner of Saturday's first-round tournament game between #3-seeded Buhl or Wendell, and #6-seeded Filer. That game would be played Monday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. at Browning Field.
The championship game is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. and Whitelaw's team is hoping that it's a rematch between top-seeded Bliss (6-0-3) and the Cutthroats. Bliss, which would host the championship game, defeated the Cutthroats 3-2 and 3-2 this season.
First assignment for the Cutthroats in gaining the first-round tourney bye was beating Wendell—and Grill got the home team off to a quick start by teeing up a "goal-of-the-year" candidate just six minutes into Monday's game.
Grill carried the ball in from the corner flag and ripped it into the top corner.
Flanigan deked Trojan goalkeeper Edgar Lopez and scored for a 2-0 lead at 11 minutes, then Stone beat two Trojan defenders down the left wing side and chipped the third goal into the corner at 32 minutes.
Actually, the score could have been worse because Flanigan missed three legitimate breakaway tries in the first 28 minutes and Connor Brown would have been credited with a header goal off a Caleb Sonneland corner—if not for keeper Lopez fisting the header out of the net area.
Early in the second half Flanigan made it 4-0, then Wendell's Miguel Orozco and Jose Salazar cut the lead to 4-2. The home team iced the big victory with three goals in the final eight minutes—Flanigan's hat trick on a breakaway, Kevin Wade's penalty kick after Connor Brown was spilled in the box, and Brown's volley off a Spencer Harris cross.
With Alden Remington nursing a groin pull and playing sparingly, Connor Brown "stepped in admirably" in the midfield, Whitelaw said.
The Cutthroats hosted 4A Minico (3-11-2) Thursday at Elkhorn and came away with a 1-1 tie that impressed their coach. "It was definitely our best performance, best 80 minutes of the season," said Whitelaw.
"Man of the Match" Tyler Chandler, a senior, made his first-ever varsity start at goalkeeper because regular keeper Regan O'Reilly cracked a bone in his leg and will be sidelined for a couple of weeks, Whitelaw said. Chandler played very well, and Wes Flanigan provided the Cutthroat goal.