TIPTON — Northwestern’s boys soccer team didn’t want to wait around to get a feel for the game or figure out its opponent Thursday night in the semifinal round of the Class A Tipton Regional.
The No. 11-ranked Purple Tigers started the game at full speed.
Northwestern’s midfield broke up Western Boone’s initial possession seconds after the opening kick and transitioned instantly, giving Robert Olsen a chance to score about 15 seconds into the game.
He didn’t get everything on his shot and it was saved, but the alarm bells were ringing already for the Stars. Northwestern broke through in the fourth minute and went on for a 5-1 victory.
On that opening goal, Tiger midfielder Spencer Lubben hit Olsen with a pass on the left side. The slippery forward beat two defenders on the dribble and shot past a third to score.
After scoring early in sectional games, the Tigers understood the value of a quick strike.
“It’s just really important because it lifts the morale of the whole team and it drops [the opponent] down,” Olsen said. “Once you get going, it’s contagious.”
Olsen finished the day with four goals and an assist as the Tigers (16-3-1) booked passage to play No. 1-ranked Guerin Catholic at 7 p.m. Saturday in the regional final.
Just as in the sectional, the Tigers put the opposition on its heels in the opening seconds.
“We talked about that again, coming out to try to put a lot of pressure on them and Robert came through again with four goals,” NW coach Jim Wagner said. “That’s a heck of an effort.”
Olsen struck again in the 21st minute, blocking a WeBo clearance in defense and controlling the loose ball behind the defense to score one-on-one with WeBo netminder Andrew Knecht. Olsen then set up NW’s third goal in the final minute of the first half. With his back to goal, he received a pass and dished to cutting midfielder Jacob Wagner who burst through on goal and scored for a 3-0 lead at the break.