It took three minutes for the rout to start, and it lasted for one half. From there, the Free State High boys soccer team coasted, just like it planned.
Junior Joel Angelone's goal less than three minutes into the Firebirds' final home game set the tone in their 5-0 win against Shawnee Mission North on Thursday at Free State Field. It spread out the Indians' defense and allowed the Firebirds to control the ball on offense, something they've had trouble with lately.
It's amazing what one early goal can do.
"It's great," Angelone said. "It gives us so much more confidence throughout the game."
It helped that FSHS, 8-5-2, kept the pressure on. North, which has only one victory this season, wasn't the most skilled of teams, but that didn't concern FSHS coach Jason Pendleton.
"We didn't take them lightly," he said. "We were concerned they would pressure us and take us out of what we were trying to do."
Senior Kayvon Sarraf added an unassisted goal 14 minutes later, dribbling past two Indian defenders then past another that fell on the slick grass. He calmly booted the ball past the goalie into the side netting.
Angelone scored 88 seconds later off an assist from Alan Martinez. Drew Becker got in on the next two goals, setting up Andrew Huffman for one goal, then scoring with five minutes left in the half off an assist from Sarraf.
It was the kind of offense Pendleton had been seeking ever since senior sweeper Cameron Baumchen was injured, forcing the Firebirds to shuffle their lineup. Bryan Spangler was moved from forward to sweeper, and Pendleton has tried a couple of players at forward since.
With regionals less than two weeks away, it was a promising offensive game.
"We need to do a better job of getting more players into the attack," he said. "We focus so much on defense, sometimes we forget we need to play offense."
With two games remaining before regionals, the Firebirds hope they can put together a similar performance against Shawnee Mission Northwest next Tuesday. On the line is a probably No. 3 seed and a rematch with Lawrence High.
"I think it's going to be big," Angelone said. "We get a chance to play Lawrence High. It's a chance to be a three seed."
Free State 5, SM North 0
SM North 0 0 0
Free State 5 0 5
Joel Angelone (Adam Bittlingmayer) 37:41.
Kayvon Sarraf (unassisted) 23:42.
Angelone (Alan Martinez) 22:16.
Andrew Huffman (Drew Becker) 16:38.
Becker (Sarraf) 4:50.