Flashes Force Lex To Be 80-Minute-Men

By Dan Woodlock
Times-Junction Sports Editor

Lexington was going to be enough of a load already.

But being commanded by Alexander the Great was all of the advantage the Minutemen needed, as they ended Willard's milestone tournament run Monday night, 5-1, in District semifinal play at Clyde High School.

Lex senior, Kyle Alexander, struck for a hat trick on the evening, as he buried three goals to help the top-seeded Minutemen end the Flashes' hopes for the second consecutive season.

But this match was nothing like the opening act in 2013, as Willard's first-ever postseason experience was a painful one, suffering an 11-0 defeat to Lex at Tiffin's Frost-Kalnow Stadium.

The Flashes trailed, 5-0, at the half and were outshot, 33-1, for the match. Alexander deposited two of the goals for the Minutemen on that night.

In the rematch, Willard (13-6) trimmed 12 shots off of Lexington's totals and held within two goals at the half, as well as with 30:14 to play in the match.

The Minutemen scored on a pair of deflected balls in the first half, beginning with Alexander's first goal of the night less than six minutes into the contest, as he was able to pop in the goal over a diving Brandon Wilson for a 1-0 lead.

Lexington didn't score again for over 19 minutes, but Bailey Faust made it a 2-0 score when he booted in a rebound off of a save by Wilson (who had nine on the night) with 14:57 left in the half. That score held into the break, as Lex outshot Willard, 10-4, but were just 2-for-7 on shots on goal.

"In the first half we came out and did a real good job of making it tough on them," said Willard Head Coach Ben Guerra. "I don't think they expected us to play that well this year.

"But on offense, it was tough, because everybody knew who the top player was and they defended us well," he added. "This is probably the most physical team we have played all year. Our midfielders couldn't fight with the ball because their kids were much bigger and stronger."

Lexington did everything they could to smother any break-away opportunities for WHS goal-machine Heriberto Gomez. They were nearly able to pull it off.

Nearly.

Leading, 3-0, after the second goal by Alexander just over four-and-a-half minutes into the second half, Gomez beat the Minutemen's backside defense for Willard's first and only goal of the night. It capped a brilliant season for Gomez, in which he tallied 32 goals, despite missing the first six matches of the season.

Guerra noted that the opportunities to set up similar chances were limited by Lexington's defense and efficiency with the ball on offense.

"A couple of times we got it," said Guerra. "We were hoping that if they made a mistake, we could get Eddie one direct shot at the goal."

Gavin Carns and Alexander scored within a span of one minute and six seconds, inflating the lead to 5-1 with 18:42 to play.

"We made a change and kept one more stopper back to try and control what they were doing," said Guerra. "But our defenders are so young and don't have as much experience. But they kept working.

"We're very proud of the kids," added Guerra. "It's great to see the community getting behind these kids. They have accomplished so much."

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