Newton senior Austin Shores had been waiting a long time for his first hat trick, and on Friday, he finally got it.
Shores wasn’t the only one in a scoring mood for the Newton boys soccer team, however, as the Cardinals scored four goals in each half to pound Boone 8-1 at H.A. Lynn Stadium.
The win propelled the Cards to 3-0 on the year and also earned a little bit of revenge for a 5-1 loss to the Toreadors last season.
“At the beginning of the season we talked about setting the tone right away,” Newton coach Tim Heger said. “We want to come out and attack immediately and not let the other team catch their breath, and we’ve done that the past few games.”
Senior Michael Miller got Newton going with a goal just five minutes and six seconds in when he connected on a header from a high crossing pass. Although the Toreadors controlled the ball for a few minutes after that and some light hail hit the field for a few minutes, the Cards remained hot.
At the 17:48 mark, senior Tyler Hansen put Newton up 2-0 after gathering a rebounded shot from fellow senior Michael Johnson. Just a few minutes later, Shores connected on his first goal with a diving header off a corner kick to cap off a dominating few minutes and give the Cards a comfortable 3-0 lead with 12:02 left in the half.
“We’ve been practicing set pieces a lot lately, and we ran one for the corner kick,” Shores said. “The ball came off the front post at my feet, so I just dove at it and got lucky with the header.”
Boone struck near the eight-minute mark off a corner kick of its own when senior Nick Walker buried a shot in the upper left corner of the net. The Toreadors managed a few more shots after that as well, but senior keeper James Leonard left them pegged at one.
Much like he did in the team’s season opener against Norwalk, Shores gave the Cards a boost with a late first-half goal. Friday’s came a bit easier, however, as Shores converted a penalty kick with 29 seconds left on the clock to put the Cards back up by three at 4-1 going into halftime.
Although Boone managed the first shot on goal of the second half, the Cards began to really pull away just a few minutes later. At the 36:11 mark, senior Matheus Pinto blasted a shot from around the 18-yard line that hooked high and just over the head of Boone’s keeper to put Newton up 5-1. Almost exactly 10 minutes later, senior Jesse Bates connected on one from even deeper, which his teammates and coaches estimated to be about 40 yards out.
“I aimed backside and didn’t think anything of it,” Bates said. “I just like to put it on frame so if it doesn’t go in, someone can get it in from there.”
After both teams booted the ball back and forth for a while, the Cardinals kept their foot on the gas with a goal from Johnson with 10:37 left to play. After an initial save by Boone’s keeper, Johnson had multiple shots off rebounds before he finally got one past to put Newton up 7-1.
“We didn’t want to let up and see what would happen,” Heger said. “I didn’t want them to start playing lazy, so we just kept pressing.”
Barely more than a minute later, Shores earned his elusive hat trick when he took a feed up the right side and sent a shot into the net to put the Cards up by the eventual final of 8-1. Even with substitutes in the game after that, Newton remained on the attack until the final buzzer sounded.
“We’ve been working on crossing it in a ton this week, so we’ve been practicing putting them in a headers, one-touches and stuff like that,” Shores said. “Obviously that helps a ton, and the easiest way to score is off crosses.”
The Cards will be back in action at H.A. Lynn Field tonight, where they will face one of their biggest challenges of the season against Johnston. The 2012 Class 3A state runner-up Dragons are 7-1 on the year and have scored in double-digits twice. The Cardinals are hoping they have another revenge win in them, as Johnston won last season’s meeting 8-0 in Johnston.
“I said Johnston and Norwalk would be the top two teams we’d be playing, and I guess we’ll just have to see,” Heger said. “Johnston is obviously a very good program, so it’ll be a tough game for us.”