SOLON — Solon’s boys’ soccer team was in need of a confidence boost.
Having dropped back-to-back games, including a 3-1 stunner Friday to a Vinton-Shellsburg team with a losing record, the Class 1A second-ranked Spartans wanted to go into the postseason on a better note.
That’s why Coach Jeremy McMurrin was happy to see 1A No. 3 Williamsburg next on the schedule.
“I’m not worried about the way we play when we play highly-ranked teams,” McMurrin said.
Solon validated that thought Tuesday night at sunny Spartan Stadium, burying Williamsburg 3-0 in both teams’ regular-season finales.
Despite the final scoreline, Solon (13-5, 7-3 Wamac) had to work to find its footing, going almost 15 minutes without a shot. The breakthrough came in the 21st minute, seconds after Solon cleared the ball from its box. Freshman Gabe Yetley got the ball on the right side, took a touch to his left and fired to the far side netting to put his team up 1-0.
Jorel Justus doubled the lead in the 36th minute, when Williamsburg failed to clear a cross from dangerous winger Isaac Vang. Justus stayed with it and hit the net with a shot from the top of the box.
“We kind of just woke up,” Justus said. “We started getting our passes off. We started clicking. We were doing great with our attacks, finding their weak spots and taking advantage of them.”
Justus earned a brace in the 77th minute, scooping up a cross from Braxton Hobbs on the left side of the box and cutting left to find space and convert his 20th goal of the season.
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Williamsburg defenders pounded the turf in frustration as they watched a team put more than one goal past them for only the second time this season (Iowa Mennonite won 4-3 in a shootout). The Raiders (10-3, 9-2 Wamac) have posted nine shutouts this year, including a 7-0 pasting of the same Vinton-Shellsburg team that beat Solon.
“We knew that we had to work pretty hard to get a big win (Tuesday),” Solon senior defender Nick Radcliffe said. “We were kind of beat down by last week, but it was something that we were really determined and had the will to do. We just had to come out and show up.”
McMurrin wasn’t concerned about that. Now he has time to prepare for the Substate 5 tournament, which begins Monday with a home quarterfinal against Highland (1-11) as the Spartans seek a return to state. Williamsburg hosts Centerville (0-12) Monday in a Substate 6 quarterfinal.
“It seems like we show up, for the most part, pretty focused (against highly-ranked teams),” McMurrin said. “I know what I’m going to get from my guys in those games. It’s the other ones ...
“All the teams in our conference are so much better than what they’ve been in the past. There’s really not an easy day in our conference. But it was nice to look and see that, alright, this is a good step for us.”
Class 1A No. 2 Solon 3, No. 3 Williamsburg 0
Goals — Jorel Justus 2 (20), Gabe Yetley 1 (8). Assists — Braxton Hobbs 1 (2).
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