Class A: Top-ranked Omaha Westside cruises past Lincoln East

Omaha Westside's Hunter Kruse, right, and Lincoln East's Reid Donovan battle for the ball in the first half.

The state’s top team flexed its muscle Wednesday in its state tournament opener.

Class A No. 1 Omaha Westside scored three times in less than 15 minutes in a 4-0 victory over eighth-ranked Lincoln East at Creighton’s Morrison Stadium.

The Warriors capitalized after the Spartans went down a man because of a red card late in the first half. Westside scored less than a minute later and added two more in the first 12 minutes after halftime.

“I think the ball movement that we did in the second half was a little crisper, a little faster,” Warriors coach John Brian said. “And I think we just tired them out.”

Senior midfielder Hunter Kruse put Westside up in the 29th minute, knocking in a free kick from distance into the upper left corner of goal.

Then a sequence less than 10 minutes later changed the complexion of the game.

East sophomore Zion Osorio’s sliding attempt at a ball in the Westside box drew the ire of Warrior keeper Griffin Trude.

Trude shoved Osorio, who was on the ground. Once he stood up, the two stood face to face and Osorio shoved Trude.

Osorio was hit with a yellow card for going cleats up on the slide and another for what was ruled a push of Trude, who also drew a yellow card.

“But we didn’t lose the game because of that,” Spartan coach Jeff Hoham said. “We lost to a team that came out, (and) once they started putting them in the net, they didn’t stop.”

Ethan Goldner cleaned up a rebound less than a minute after the ejection. Kruse and leading scorer Jack Finocchiaro added goals within 10 minutes of each other in the second half.

Brian said the focus at halftime was to play faster.

“We settled down, and I think after that we started seeing where we needed to go,” he said. “The second half I thought we were a lot brighter. Credit to Lincoln East. They didn’t stop playing. I think Lincoln East came out with that mentality like, ‘We’re going to get after them.’ ”

East saw an early goal taken off the board with a questionable offside call. Moments later, the Spartans missed a point-blank chance.

“You’ve got to overcome those, though,” Hoham said. “I give Westside all the credit. This is an extremely talented team we just lost to.”

Westside reached the semifinals for the second straight season. The Warriors lost to eventual champion Omaha South last year.

On Friday, they’ll play at 8 p.m. against Millard West, which beat Lincoln North Star 3-2 later in the afternoon. Earlier this season, Westside beat Millard West 6-2.

Lincoln East (11-7)......................0 0—0

Omaha Westside (15-2)...............2 2—4

Goals: OW, Hunter Kruse 2, Jack Finocchiaro, Ethan Goldner.

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Nick covers high school soccer, wrestling and other sports for The World-Herald.

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