The Westlake boys soccer team is “starting to get there,” according to its head coach, Mike Besu.
That doesn’t bode well for the Demons’ future opponents, as visiting Midpark found out Wednesday night.
Westlake got on the board early and kept the onslaught going in the second half in a convincing 9-0 win over the Meteors at Reed Field. The lopsided victory pushed the Demons to 6-4-1 with five games remaining before the post season.
“Tonight was pretty much the first time I’ve had my whole roster,” Besu said. “This was the first game some of our kids have played this season. We’re starting to get there.
“Are we 100 percent? No, but we’re getting healthier and we’re peaking at the right time,” he added.
Part of the reason for that has been some classroom time spent going over strategies and player roles, according to Besu. A frustrating 2-1 loss to Brecksville a week ago prompted the veteran coach to pull his team in for the meetings.
“For one hour, we were in the classroom and putting things up on the board,” Besu said. “I don’t think some of our guys really understood their roles. We had a week off, so we spend the time broke down things for everybody. We went over what their roles were and our expectations of them.
“I thought today they went out there knowing what they should do,” he said. “So the time off seems to have helped. I saw the frustration on the part of the kids, and was because they didn’t understand their roles. We had some injuries, so that meant some kids were playing different positions.
“But today, you could see the difference. We knew who would be making the runs, when to make those runs, who was crossing, who was going to be inside,” he added.
The Demons took the chalk talks onto the field Wednesday night and and totally dominated the game. In the first half alone, the Demons outshot Midpark 16-1, and they didn’t let up until well into the second half.
The first goal came in the second minute of play as senior Luke Blazevic moved the ball up the field, slipped past a defenseman and zipped a shot past Midpark keeper Chris Telep. It could have easily been the Demons’ second goal of the game, but Telep made a nice save in the first minute.
The rest of the way, however, those saves would be few and far between.
With 7:10 gone in the half, senior Tyler Sedam scored the first of his two goals. Junior midfielder Nick Wertman got credit for the assist after he quickly advanced the ball up the left side and passed it to Sedam, who was unmarked by the Meteor defense.
Westlake continued to have scoring chances, but missed on a number of shots. The Demons remained undaunted and eventually found the back of the net again when sophomore Adam Thompson took a pass from Wertman and scored with 14:14 remaining in the half.
Thompson had missed on a breakaway in the 25th minute, sending his shot over the crossbar. He didn’t miss his next chance, however, and wound up scoring a second goal with 12:30 left in the game off an assist from freshman Brian Sutcliffe.
The goal made it 8-0, Demons, as Besu began to insert junior varsity players into the lineup. Junior Mark Sutcliffe score the game’s final goal off a pass from Thompson with 6:32 remaining.
In between Thompson’s two goals, Westlake got scores from Brian Sutcliffe and junior Sean Bigley to make it 5-0 at the half. Senior forward Andy Haders got the goal machine started in the second half on a header in the 14th minute, then Sedam ripped a bullet past Telep from the left side for a 7-0 Westlake advantage.
“Not to take anything away from these guys, but I think we took them out of their game early,” Besu said. “In fairness to them, they’ve been pretty competitive all season in the conference. But tonight, they were no match for us.”
Part of the reason for that, according to Besu, was the team’s consistency in the intensity department.
“A big part of things was our intensity,” he said. “There are times we show intensity for 10 to 15 minutes, we score a goal and then we sit back. We have a goal to win the next four games before the seeding, and that started today. We’re going to treat every game like it’s a playoff game.
“Today we were hustling and winning the ball. I think we’ll be ready for the next game,” he added.
That next game is Saturday night at Reed Field when solon comes to town for a non-conference contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.