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Midd-West cruises in district opener

Mustangs put up eight goals in shut out

Sentinel photo by JEFF FISHBEIN
Midd-West’s Nicholas Eppley (13) heads the ball in front of Milton’s Trent Strous during a District 4 Class 2A boys soccer playoff game Thursday at Sports Boosters Park in Middleburg.

MIDDLEBURG–Midd-West dominated on both sides of the ball in its 8-0 rout of Milton, in the quarterfinals of the District 4 Class 2A boys soccer playoffs on Thursday at Midd-West High School.

“After tonight I’m pleased with how we moved the ball. We’ve worked hard, we got what we deserved early and we were able to take that into halftime,” Mustangs coach Mark Ferster said. “I asked them to put the icing on the cake and continue doing what we’re doing–2-0 is a dangerous lead. It wasn’t long (into) the second half started when we did just that. Then things started to look up for us. I got to play a lot of players that might not get to play. So I was very pleased.”

It was a tale of two teams in the opening half, as each was showcasing contrasting styles. Milton looked to go with an up-tempo attack, launching the ball downfield, while the Mustangs chose a more balanced and steady approach as they constantly moved the ball to one another, being extremely patient while waiting for the Panthers to make a mistake defensively.

When the Milton defense did make that mistake, the Mustangs took advantage and quickly began to pressure the net. Midd-West created several opportunities to put the ball in the net against Panthers’ goal keeper Tyler Flederbach, including a rocket shot by Kynn Loss, which was stopped by Flederbach. Then, Stefan Leitzel launched a direct kick just over the head of Nicholas Eppley before falling into the waiting arms of Flederbach.

But then the pressure became too much for Milton, which forced a penalty kick opportunity for the Mustangs as Eppley was fouled inside the box and Leitzel came on and gave them a 1-0 lead.

A couple minutes later, Midd-West truly showed the essence of teamwork as Owen Solomon moved the ball on a cross pass over to Kyle Ferster who bounced the ball off his knee landing right at the feet of Nolan Stahl who proceeded to knock it in to make it a 2-0 nothing lead at the half.

The Mustangs scored two goals on seven shots while defensively holding the Panthers to no shots on goal.

“You know since we got this turf I thought our passing has gotten better because obviously the more you’re on this stuff, the more you get use to it,” Ferster said. “I don’t think we let the weather bother us a whole lot. I think we moved the ball well. Maybe just when we came to shot the ball wasn’t quite where we wanted it to be. I certainly think our passing went well.”

The Mustangs really turned it on offensively in the second half scoring six of their goals in the final 40 minutes.

It didn’t take them long to get back on the scoreboard as under a minute into the half, Preston Arbogast sent one over to Easton Erb who nailed in a shoot in mid-air to make it 3-0.

Arbogast made his presence felt again on a corner which led to a header from Eppley, extending the lead to 4-0. Loss scored with some help from Stahl, followed by Eppley who added his second goal of the game. Noah Romig and Nathan Hartman each added a goal in the closing minutes of the game.

“Our talk at halftime was ‘hey, you put that first one in and put it in early, it sorta deflates a team a little bit’, we sort of feed off that,” Ferster said. “Once we got that first one, everyone was like ‘you know what, if we continue to focus a little but more and continue to string those passes together and realize things get a little easier as we put a few more in.'”

The Midd-West defense never let up either as the Mustangs held Milton to one shot on goal in the half, as well as the whole game.

“We’ve taken pride in our defense pretty much through the year,” Ferster said. “Obviously we’ve run into some teams that have a powerhouse offense, so I think they were smart with the ball. They knew when to go big, when to play to feet, just confidence in one another and I think right now we’re building confidence in our backfield–to believe that we are capable to play with just about everybody.”

Midd-West (13-3-1 overall) advances in the District 4 Class 2A and will play on Wednesday with the opponent and time to be determined.

Midd-West 8, Milton 0

M 0 0–0

MW 2 6–8

Goals: MW–Nic Eppley 2, Stefan Leitzel, Nolan Stahl, Easton Erb, Kynn Loss, Noah Romig, Nathan Hartman. Assists: MW–Preston Arbogast 2, Romig, Stahl, Kyle Ferster, Owen Solomon. Shots: MW 18-1. Corners: MW 5-3. Saves: MW-1 (Josh Horst), M-10 (Tyler Flederbach).

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