The West Liberty Boys Soccer team notched its third straight trip to the state tournament with a 5 - 0 victory over Mediapolis Wednesday, May 24.
The high-powered Comet offense wasted no time getting on the board early, as Juan Mateo found the back of the net in the opening five minutes of that matchup to put the Comets ahead. Head coach William Ponce kept it simple "That was the objective" he said postgame. He continued "This is a very similar setup to what we'll play in Des Moines. It forces them to open up more and give us an opportunity to attack behind their back."
The Comets added a second goal 10 minutes later as Juan Mateo added his second of the contest. Diego Hernandez found the back of the net on a free kick late in the first half giving the Comets a 3-0 advantage at the break. The Comets struggled at times to keep the Mediapolis offense at bay in the first half as they had a number of scoring opportunities that went along with Josh Zeman picking up a yellow card and missing the majority of the first half in what started as a chippy contest.
Looking ahead to the second half, the Comets lost the wind from their sales for a while as they struggled to find tracking on offense.
"We want to play with energy, its a constant on the sidelines,"
The Comets were able to return to stride, keeping the Bulldog offense at bay for the second half and adding a pair of late goals in the contest to cruise to their third straight tournament.
The state tournament includes two other teams that the Comets have already seen this season. The fell to Regina earlier in the season.
Three of the eight team field plays in the River Valley Conference. On potentially seeing those teams for a second time, coach Ponce was confident.
"I think its an advantage, you kind of know what to expect," he said. "Especially those two team [Regina and West Branch], we didn't have everyone we have in the lineup now. So I think its great, but the goal was to get across and I'm glad we're there."
As for taking a run at state, coach kept it simple.
"I think if can we stay consistent to our game," Ponce said. "Our game is what you saw today. Can we stay true to our game style through adversity and if we can do that we have a shot."
Editor's Note: The Comets played their first round matchup against against Regina Tuesday, May 30, against Regina but lost. Infomration from this game will be in next week's edition of The Index.