SOUTH WEBSTER — Simply put, the host Jeeps cruised to a boys soccer sectional championship.
That’s because second-seeded South Webster scored three first-half goals, and tacked on two more second-half markers, en route to routing — and blanking — the Rock Hill Redmen 5-0 in Wednesday’s Division III sectional final at South Webster.
South Webster senior Gabe Ruth, in fact, registered all three first-half goals — the opening two of which were assisted by Gavin Bennett and Trae Zimmerman respectively.
Ruth recorded the first goal just three-and-a-half minutes in off a Bennett cross pass, then — just 53 seconds later — was on the board again with a header off a corner kick from Zimmerman.
He hit his hat trick with 26 minutes and 54 seconds gone by, as that goal was unassisted.
In the second half, the Jeeps scored twice more — by Braden Martin and Bennett — just six minutes and 10 seconds apart.
Martin managed a goal with 10 minutes and 24 seconds elapsed— by hitting the crossbar and bouncing it into the net — off a Ruth assist.
Six minutes and 10 seconds later, with 24 minutes remaining, Bennett got the final marker of the match.
“I was hoping we would be able to get on the board quickly in the first half, because that really takes the pressure off right from the start. That is exactly what we did and we played well tonight. The intensity was there and it was a good team effort from front-to-back,” said South Webster coach Corey Claxon. “Our defense played well by keeping the ball mostly on the offensive end and defended well when needed. Jaren Lower earned the shutout and that’s something to be proud of for our defense.”
Rock Hill had just four shots and two shots on goal, as Lower made both saves.
The Jeeps kept firing at Rock Hill goalkeeper Hunter Sparks, amassing 24 attempts, including 14 on goal.
Ruth had eight shots while Zimmerman and Bennett both had five, and Martin mustered three.
That same foursome finished with three shots on goal apiece, as Connor Bender bagged one.
Sparks made nine saves for the Redmen, which were the seventh-seeded squad in the sectional.
The Jeeps also amounted 16 corner kicks, compared to only one for Rock Hill.
With the win, the Jeeps are now 13-3-1 — and extended their non-match losing streak to six.
More importantly, though, South Webster will advance to Saturday’s Division III district semifinal at Waverly — as the Jeeps play Peebles for the right to compete for a district championship.
The Indians earned a sectional shutout of their own — a 4-0 decision over Eastern Brown.
South Webster will play Peebles in the second of four matches on Saturday at Waverly’s Raidiger Field — with kickoff time set for 3 p.m.
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