DECATUR — St. Teresa may like to see senior midfielder Jake Stahl take more shots from long range.
Stahl mustered his first hat trick of the season with a couple of deep bombs in an 8-1 rout over Pana on Tuesday.
Stahl perfectly hooked the first goal of the game from beyond 25 yards and scorched another one late in the match from near midfield.
He's normally the facilitator, leading the team in assists.
On Tuesday, he was the lightning rod from long distance.
“Today, we called upon him to take more shots because we knew he could shoot from 30-yards out easily and net it,” St. Teresa coach Tom Cantwell said. “We always give him a hard time because when he's too close, he has a tendency to shoot it over.”
Perhaps a little luck was on Stahl's side on the first one, but he said he'll take credit for the other two.
“First one, maybe,” Stahl said. “But the other two, I kind of aimed on.”
Despite controlling possession and largely keeping the ball away from Pana's offense and talented forward Jake McLeod, St. Teresa (7-1-1) only led 1-0 at halftime after Stahl's first goal.
Pana (5-2-1) even managed to tie it up 1-1.
McLeod had very few opportunities, but he still struck early in second half on a free kick. St. Teresa goalie Jarryd Hawkins was in position, but the ball leaped over his right shoulder into the net.
It was McLeod's 15th goal of the season.
“He's the leading scorer, but everybody has to step up more,” Pana coach Tim Karbach said. “It's not just one person, it's the whole team. Once the team starts falling, somebody has to pick it up.”
Pana quickly collapsed in a matter of minutes.
St. Teresa reeled off seven goals in the final 30 minutes.
You have free articles remaining.
“That was some good soccer,” Stahl said. “They were a tough team in the first half. We got a stern talking to in the locker room. We got stuff together, thankfully.”
And it started with Stahl's corner kick.
St. Teresa sophomore midfielder Christian Herrera headed the corner directly into the left post, but freshman teammate Edgar Onate got the rebound to quickly reclaim a 2-1 advantage.
“We have tons and tons of players,” Stahl said. “It's really nice. We should have a solid team for years to come. It's been nice having backup there to keep everybody fresh.”
After sophomore Massimo Evelti's long goal, Onate scored again with a grounder past Pana goalie Brian Housh.
Foreign exchange student Leon Oh also scored two goals in his first appearance of the season.
St. Teresa led 6-1 with 20 minutes remaining.
“We're blessed with a lot of depth,” Cantwell said. “We have two, three or four guys who come off the bench who would start on a lot of other teams.”
It was a refreshing response after giving up leads in a 2-1 loss to Williamsville and a 1-1 tie to Effingham St. Anthony last week.
“Today, we knew it was time for an answer and time to step up,” Cantwell said. “Pana's a good team and they only had one loss coming into today. The boys just came to play, particularly in the second half.”
It was quite the opposite for Pana.
Karbach said it was combination of poor communication and timid defense.
“Everything collapsed,” Karbach said. “Our midfield wasn't pressuring the ball and giving them too much of a gap. Between our midfield and our defense, we were giving them 20 yards. Our defense had to work overload. When you don't control the middle of the field, you can't control anything.
“We play a lot better ball than this. It was very disappointing. Hopefully our guys wake up from it and recover.”