There's just no getting around it.
Dunbar's defense that is.
The second-ranked Bulldogs pitched their sixth consecutive shutout of the post-season Tuesday night, 4-0 over visiting Mercer County in the boys' soccer State Tournament round of 16.
Dunbar (23-3) will take an eight-game winning streak into Saturday's State quarterfinals at Henry Clay, where it will meet No. 4 Bowling Green at 7 p.m.
"We've been (to the quarterfinals) two years and we lost both years," said Guillermo Clemente who, with Riley Calhoon, had a two-goal night. "But this time it's going to be different. We're going to play even harder."
The Bulldogs are tough to catch once they have a lead. Tuesday marked their 15th shutout of the season. They have outscored foes 16-0 in the post-season.
"Our defense is working very hard, Coach Todd Bretz said. "They're working very well together right now."
With a 4-0 lead, goalkeeper Fernando Ortiz was intent on keeping Mercer off the board.
"It is very important — no goals," he said. "Nothing in."
Ortiz had plenty of help, called on for only two saves before Josiah Farley took over for the final 13 minutes.
"I talk to my defense back there, make sure they know if a man's coming or anything like that — clearing the ball either for a drop or a head back," Ortiz said. "But nothing gets past our defense really."
No. 9 Mercer (21-4-1), which had won eight in a row, was blanked one other time this season — 1-0 by Collins.
"Not even close," Titans Coach Matt Vogell said. "That (Dunbar) defense there is the best one we faced all season, hands down."
Vogell knew what to expect. He coaches Dunbar center backs Nick DiMeo and Davoud Saghaian in club ball.
"I had seen Dunbar play several times," Vogell said. "That was probably some of the best I've seen them play. They were just tuned in to everything in what they did."
Both teams came in having won 16 of their previous 17.
Dunbar led 2-0 at halftime.
Calhoon opened the scoring at 8:36, redirecting a doorstep centering pass from Nathan Jones.
Calhoon assisted on the second, at 17:09, by practically placing the ball on a tee for a 22-yard blast by Clemente.
"Guillermo here was just screaming his head off, wanting the ball. I just passed it to him. I can trust him with the shot," Calhoon said as he smiled at his teammate.
"My goal was just Nathan working hard, getting down the end line, playing it across and I was in the right spot at the right time."
Jones also assisted on Clemente's second-half tally, at 53:35. Calhoon scored at 61:59.
"We were very fortunate. They are so explosive and they're so well-coached," Bretz said. "We were fortunate to get that (first) goal, and I think that kind of set the tone for us. Up to that point, they were putting pressure on us and they were getting some balls hit in. It was dicey at that point."
The season marked a first district and region title for Mercer, along with 21 wins and a top 10 rank.
"Definitely a historic season for us, there's no question," Vogell said. "The seniors have accomplished a lot ... and we're going to try to build upon that and try to keep establishing some tradition here."
Paul Dunbar 4, Mercer County 0
Goals—D: Riley Calhoon 2, Guillermo Clemente 2. Goalkeepers—MC: Slade Ransdell; D: Fernando Ortiz, Josiah Farley.
Records—Mercer Co. 21-4-1; Paul Dunbar 23-3.