Sports

Gators avenge early season tie

The Decatur soccer team avenged an early season tie with Jefferson by beating the Raiders 6-0 Friday at Federal Way Memorial Field.

The first time the teams played, Jefferson scored two quick goals before the Gators even knew what hit them. The Gators recovered to escape with a tie.

On Friday, Decatur came out with more focus and intensity and made sure a tie wasn’t going to happen again.

“Decatur is a heck of a team. We were the first team to nick a point on them,” Jefferson coach Darren Sawatzky said about the 2-2 tie the first time the teams played. “Tonight they took out a whoopin’ stick and took it to us. (Decatur coach) Jimmy (McAlister) had done a good job of getting them refocused. I have a feeling they’ll be focused when they play Rogers as well.”

Decatur tied Rogers earlier this season. The two ties are the only blemishes on Decatur’s 6-0-2 record. Decatur has a 29-game unbeaten streak and is the No. 7 ranked team in the nation by Student Sports Magazine/studentsports.com.

In Friday’s game, Decatur and Jefferson played fairly even the first 25 minutes — Decatur had four shots while Jefferson managed three. But two of Decatur’s shots were goals.

At the 19-minute mark, Decatur senior midfielder Nick McCluskey dribbled into Jefferson territory, then sent a pass through the defense to senior midfielder Christian Scholze, who outran his defender and one-touched the ball into the left side of the goal.

“Our energy level was a lot higher (than the first game between the teams),” Scholze said. “Everybody is looking to beat the cross-town rival. We have been looking to this game since our tie. We were winning everything in the air and not playing scared. We were playing strong. We’ll keep picking it up so we peak at the right time for the playoffs, if we get there.”

Ten minutes later, McCluskey earned another assist when he sent a corner kick on the ground to senior Will Craig, who was waiting at the top of the 18-yard box. Craig drove a shot in the air through a crowd and into the back of the net.

Decatur took the 2-0 lead into halftime.

“That’s the way we need to play,” McAlister said. “It was an absolutely dominating performance. I expect nothing less. If we can keep it at that level, we’ll be fine. We have a lot of good players. When they decide to put their playing boots on, we’re hard to stop.”

Five minutes into the second half, Scholze sent a long throw-in to senior forward Alex Chursky, who headed the ball in for a score.

“Alex is good in the air — he wins everything,” Scholze said. “A lot of our goals are scored off headers.”

Two minutes later, junior midfielder Mike Gilpin scored on a header on a pass from Chursky.

Scholze scored his second goal of the night at the 52-minute mark when he finished a shot from 10 feet out on a pass from Zach Norwood.

Chursky scored his second goal at the 63-minute mark when he headed in a pass from D.J. Farris.

“We really wanted to show ourselves what we could do,” Chursky said. “But this is only one result. We have a whole lot of games to go and a lot of things to improve on.”

Decatur played at Emerald Ridge last night, then plays against league-leading Curtis at 7:30 p.m. on April 17 at Federal Way Memorial Field.

Jefferson played Puyallup last night, then plays at Rogers at 7:30 p.m. on April 16.

“Jefferson is young, Darren has done a wonderful job with them,” McAlister said. “They’ll be heard from in the future. But right now, it’s our time.”

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