Omaha Skutt’s big guns fired in the second half Wednesday, keeping the defending champions on target for a repeat.
The Class B No. 1 SkyHawks got three goals after the break thanks to forwards Jake Sievers and Jared Mertz and rode the scores to a 3-0 win over unranked Norris in the first round of the state soccer tournament at Creighton’s Morrison Stadium.
Sievers, Skutt’s leading scorer, sandwiched his two goals around one from Mertz, who is second on the team in goals scored. The big second half advanced the SkyHawks to Saturday’s semifinals, where they’ll play Columbus.
“The first half we did a nice job of possessing the ball, but we weren’t attacking,” Skutt coach Rob Meyers said. “And I don’t know why. The second half was much better.”
Meyers said that staying patient and applying more pressure were the main points of his halftime speech.
Sievers put in his first goal from an angle less than five minutes into the second half. Mertz added the second score on a long blast from the left side less than 10 minutes later.
Sievers capped the scoring with a stellar individual effort. The senior stopped near the top of the box, switched feet and blasted a low line drive for a score.
Norris coach Arnold Talero said the SkyHawks’ relentless play just kept coming.
“They do a great job of that,” Talero said. “That’s why they’re a championship team. They found a way to win today. They’re No. 1 for a reason.”
Creighton recruit Michael Kluver recorded the shutout for the SkyHawks, his 12th of the year.
Meyers was happy for the opportunity to get Sievers and Mertz some rest after Skutt’s third goal.
Sievers was hit with a yellow card earlier in the match, and Mertz was playing with a head injury suffered in the district final and a foot injury that Meyers said would have kept most players off the field.
Neither player ran his tank dry, though.
“I’ve got some beasts that don’t get tired,” Meyers said.
Norris (6-11) ...................... 0 0—0
Omaha Skutt (18-1) ........... 0 3—3
Goals: OS, Jake Sievers 2, Jared Mertz.
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