Behind relentless second-half pressure from the offense the Paul Laurence Dunbar boys’ soccer team knocked off Madison Southern 4-0 at Bryan Station on Monday, punching a ticket to the 11th Region soccer semifinals.
The fifth-ranked Bulldogs will face No. 20 Henry Clay in Thursday’s first semifinal matchup at Bryan Station. It’ll be a rematch of last year’s championship game, which the Blue Devils won 1-0.
Dunbar got on the board 11 minutes into the game when Harrison Grabmayer nailed a penalty kick after he was tackled from behind in the box.
The Madison Southern defense held serve the rest of the half, but after intermission Dunbar’s offense came out on fire, striking for three goals and living on the Eagles’ half of the pitch.
“We did a much better job possession-wise in the second half,” said Dunbar head coach Todd Bretz. “We made a lot better decisions and a lot quicker decisions and that let us keep the pressure down on them.”
Caleb Norris put the Bulldogs up 2-0 less than four minutes into the second half with a goal from the front left corner of the box.
Moments later Grabmayer raced in front of a Madison Southern goal kick, dribbled around a defender and passed to Pedro Jimenez, who flicked the ball to Javier Delgado. Delgado unleashed a shot from about 25 yards out that skipped off Eagles’ goalie Tyler Barnett’s outstretched hand and into the top of the net.
“Honestly, I lined up the shot and took it and I wasn’t expecting much from it. I was ready to jog back (on defense) and the goalie just fumbled it. I was surprised it went in,” said Delgado.
Midfielder Michael Vandenberg put the finishing touch on the rout, scoring with 2.2 seconds left in the match.
Delgado said the Bulldogs got a collective wake-up call at halftime.
“We were ready to go after halftime, everybody just wanted it,” he said. “This is my last year and I’ve wanted it really bad so we’ve just been pushing harder and harder. We play Henry Clay Thursday and they beat us last year so we’re hoping to win this one. It’ll be a great game.”
PAUL DUNBAR 4, MADISON SOUTHERN 0
G—PLD: Grabmayer, Norris, Delgado, Vandenberg.
GK—PLD: Szydlik. MS: Barnett.
Records: Paul Dunbar 14-4-2, Madison Southern 5-11-4.