The McDonell/Regis boys soccer team ran rampant on Black River Falls on Tuesday evening, avenging an early season loss to the Tigers with a 5-0 victory at Casper Park.
Joey Huffcutt and John Wampler scored two goals apiece in a masterclass from the Saints, who outshot the Tigers by over 30 and possessed the ball for huge chunks of the game.
“I’m very satisfied,” McDonell/Regis coach Joe Cash said. “The first time we played this team we came out flat and they got two quick ones on us in the first half. We ended up losing 2-1. It’s been a challenge pretty much every day since that game for the boys to play with consistency, and they answered that today.”
The Saints improved in every way possible from that Sept. 14 loss.
Although they struggled to keep hold of the ball, the Tigers had the game’s first clear-cut scoring chance. One of their forwards slipped behind the Saints’ defense for a breakaway in the 15th minute, but failed to convert the opportunity into a goal.
After dominating in possession for the vast majority of the first 25 minutes of the game, Huffcutt rewarded the Saints with their first goal in the 29th minute. He received a pass from Austin Erickson about six yards away from goal and knocked it past the Black River Falls keeper to give McDonell/Regis a 1-0 lead.
Huffcutt doubled the Saints’ lead in the 55th minute by pouncing on a loose ball in the box and slotting it into the back of the net.
“His energy was really great. He came out and I thought he was vocal today, a lot more vocal than he normally is. He was just a leader,” Cash said about Huffcutt.
After his team spent more long spells attacking, Zach Yengo scored from a tight angle near the end line on the left side of the box to give McDonell/Regis its third goal in the 73rd minute.
That opened the floodgates, as Wampler scored when his shot was deflected over a sliding goalkeeper less than a minute later. He completed a two-score performance with another goal in the 81st minute to complete the demolition for the Saints.
In a season in which it’s been a battle to find consistency for McDonell/Regis, Cash hopes Tuesday’s win will give the Saints some momentum headed into the postseason.
“I feel like every step of the way we’ve kind of put it together, and every now and then we take a step back. That’s been the challenge is really just to play with some consistency. But we got a good result today and hopefully going forward we’ll continue with that,” he said.
McDonell/Regis finished with several times as many shots as the Tigers, and also had seven corner kicks compared to two. Erickson and Yengo both received yellow cards in the first half for the Saints.
The win was the final tuneup for the playoffs for McDonell/Regis. The Saints were originally scheduled to face Menomonie on Friday, but it was canceled as neither team figured it would gain much from the game.
Regional play begins next Tuesday. Cash said the team will try to get zoned in during the week leading up to its opener.
“We’ve been talking about it really for the last two or three weeks. Every rep that we’ve taken in practice, every rep that we’ve taken in a game is a playoff rep. We’ve just been focused on that, trying to dial it in as best we can,” he said.