Riders Clicking On All Cylinders

St. Marys’ Joey Vanderhorst fires the ball toward the goal during a Western Buckeye League boys soccer game against Van Wert in Tuesday.
By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

The early going of the season has been a little frustrating for the St. Marys boys soccer team with three ties in games the Riders felt they had the opportunity to win.

Yet they still have a chance to sit atop the Western Buckeye League next week.

Tying a season-high in goals in a game, the Roughriders won their second straight WBL match with a 5-0 victory against Van Wert at Roughrider Field.

“Chemistry has really come together,” Roughriders coach Josh Hertenstein said. “We cleaned up some issues and we are clicking.”

The setting was just right for the Roughriders to claim their first home win of the season. Tuesday was Youth Night, honoring players who are in the St. Marys youth soccer program and featured the St. Marys All Brass Band and a couple members of the Cowbell Mafia.

The Roughriders (2-1-3, 2-0-1 WBL) harassed Van Wert (0-3-0, 1-5-0) keeper Taylor Springer with 44 shots on goal. St. Marys tallied 18 shots on goal in the first half and Hertenstein said he challenged his team to record 20 shots in the second half. 

They finished with 26 instead.

The Roughriders’ first goal of the evening came off the shin of a Van Wert defender when Gavin Engel shot the ball toward the goal, which ricochet off a defender and past Springer at the right side of the net for a 1-0 lead with 22:13 remaining in the first half.

On a pass from Justin Grannan, Joey Vanderhorst shot a beautiful ball to the upper left corner of the net, which Springer initially blocked, but the ball trickled into the net for a 2-0 advantage with 7:44 remaining. 

With Spencer Trogdlon working up the side of the field toward the goal, the junior crossed the ball in front of the net to a waiting Kyle Steininger, who punched the ball into the net with 1:51 remaining for a 3-0 lead.

Opening the middle of the field helped add two more goals in the second half with Max Mielke connecting on a pass from Andrew Ibrahim at the 13:47 mark of the second half and Andy Vogel scoring on a pass from Austin Hertenstein with 10:03 left in regulation.

After scoring just two goals in the first three matches of the season (0-1-2 record during that span) the Roughriders have tallied 12 goals (2-0-1 record) as the defense has continued to do its thing with just three goals allowed.

However, the Roughriders will now head into the meat of their schedule, beginning with a home game against No. 7 state-ranked Shawnee on Monday. 

The Indians routed Wapakoneta 10-0 on Tuesday and are the top team in the WBL. St. Marys currently sits second place as both teams are the lone unbeaten’s in league play.

“It’s us Shawnee and Celina for the league as far as I am concerned,” Hertenstein stated. “If we can handle them [Shawnee on Monday] I think we can handle the rest of the league. There are other quality teams like Celina, Kenton is still good, but Shawnee is who we have marked on the calendar.”