High School Sports

Clemente's four goals power Dunbar boys to state soccer semis

Dunbar's Manuel Rivera jumped on Eric Clemente after one of Clemente's four first-half goals against Daviess County in the boys' state soccer quarterfinals at Henry Clay on Saturday. "I came out — everyone came out — with energy, just ready," Clemente said.
Dunbar's Manuel Rivera jumped on Eric Clemente after one of Clemente's four first-half goals against Daviess County in the boys' state soccer quarterfinals at Henry Clay on Saturday. "I came out — everyone came out — with energy, just ready," Clemente said. Lexington Herald-Leader

Ricky Clemente was the hot man on a cold Saturday at Henry Clay.

Clemente's four first-half goals propelled third-ranked Paul Laurence Dunbar to a 5-0 victory over No. 5 Daviess County in the quarterfinals of the boys' State Tournament.

The defending state champions (19-4-3) will meet Bowling Green in the semifinals at Henry Clay, Thursday night at 8. Scott will meet South Oldham in the other semifinal, Thursday at 6.

Daviess had won 11 in a row and was unbeaten in 22 (21-0-1). The Panthers had outscored opponents 120-20 this season.

"Thank goodness. He came to play today," Dunbar Coach Todd Bretz said of Clemente. "He was a difference maker. Guys got him the ball in a couple good spots, but he did well finishing today.

"And I thought in the midfield we played really good defense today. I think that was really the big key was being able to win the ball in the midfield, because they're very talented."

The key to Dunbar's success on the back line?

"Communication," said Alex Lewis, who scored Dunbar's fifth goal. "They had like 120 goals or something. I think that was the second time that they've ever been shut out."

Dunbar outshot the Panthers 16-5, with goalkeeper Travis Shuler called on to make only one save.

Clemente personally outshot Daviess County 7-5.

"They're very, very dangerous coming out of the midfield, and if you give them any space or any time, they'll shred you," Bretz said. "So we were able to put a little bit of pressure on them and win the ball early, and I think that really helped us."

Clemente got things started with a penalty kick, which came when Connor Roberts was knocked down in the penalty box 11:26 into the match.

"I came out — everyone came out — with energy, just ready. Really wanted to win," said Clemente, a junior. "Connor got fouled in the box and (we) had to take advantage early."

About 3½ minutes later, Clemente struck again from straight away.

Eight minutes after that, he scored after using a short corner kick to Luke Norris like a give-and-go.

"We got them off guard," Clemente said. "They didn't step up and they weren't expecting that."

Clemente's fourth goal, from the top of the 18, came with 4:22 left in the half.

The ease with which Dunbar won was about the only thing that caught Clemente off guard.

"We were really surprised," he said. "Getting goals early in the game really helped out."

And that was that until Lewis headed in a corner kick with 20:52 left in the match.

"Javier (Delgado) played a great ball into the middle and I was just lucky enough got on the end of it," Lewis said.

Dunbar will carry a seven-game winning streak into Thursday's semifinals. The Bulldogs are unbeaten in 10 (9-0-1).

PAUL LAURENCE Dunbar 5, Daviess CO. 0

Goals—PLD: Ricky Clemente 4, Alex Lewis. Goalkeepers—DC: Jacob Stanley; PLD: Travis Shuler and Josh Szydlik.

Records: Daviess Co. 23-3-1; Dunbar 19-4-3.

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