Senior Andy Dick scored three goals and junior Mike Hansen had three assists last Friday as Trout Lake defeated Day Star Christian 5-2 in Moses Lake and widened its lead in Greater Columbia B League boys soccer standings.
"It was a long bus ride, but the guys were determined they weren't going to be denied," said Mustangs Coach Doug Dearden.
Dick's first career hat trick and two more goals by sophomore Kris Huffsmith came in the first half.
Following a one-goal loss Oct. 15 to Sunnyside Christian, Dearden decided to shake up his lineup to add speed and a more physical element to the Mustangs' attack.
The new alignment shifted Dick and Hansen from the midfield to striker positions, "where they played really well together," Dearden noted.
Dick finished three of four breakaways on the day "because of his speed and good through-passes," according to his coach.
But early in the match, Dearden wasn't so sure he'd made the right decision to sacrifice defense for more offensive firepower.
"After Day Star opened the scoring seven minutes into the game, I started to question our new alignment," he said. "But after that we scored five unanswered goals, so I guess it worked out all right."
Day Star's 1-0 lead lasted all of 13 minutes as Dick countered with the first of three consecutive breakaway goals.
Huffsmith closed out Trout Lake's first-half barrage with a pair of goals.
"Basically, in 20 minutes of play we knocked in five goals, which was really surprising because Day Star likes to pack the box with a lot of big bodies," Dearden remarked. "Usually their defensive scheme makes it hard to score, but that day it didn't seem to matter."
Trout Lake improved to 5-2 in league and 10-3-2 overall with the victory, giving it the inside track to the number-one seed and a first-round bye in the Nov. 8-9 league playoffs.
Day Star, at 3-3, held a slim lead over Sunnyside Christian (2-3) and Riverside Christian (2-4) for second place.
After an 0-4 start, Riverside crowded into the playoff picture with back-to-back wins over Day Star and Sunnyside Christian.
The league's third-place team will play at the second-place team on Nov. 8, with the winner traveling to the home field of the first-place team on Nov. 9 to decide seeding for the Nov. 15-16 regional tournament in Pasco.
Sunnyside Christian 2, at Trout Lake 1 --
The Mustangs dominated the match, out-shooting the Knights 27-7, yet still came out on the short end.
"I have to give the credit to Sunnyside. We had lots of opportunities to score," Mustangs Coach Doug Dearden noted, "we just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net."
Sunnyside Christian scored in the 11th minute to take a 1-0 lead. Mike Hansen countered in the 27th minute and the two teams went into halftime tied 1-1.
The score remained deadlocked until the 60th minute, when the Knights scored off a free kick from 30 yards out.
"We had a wall set up, but we were too static," Dearden explained. "The kick went toward our goal and one of their guys broke ahead of the defense and knocked it in."