DuBOIS — DuBois Central Catholic picked up its second win of the season with a 5-2 victory over visiting Keystone Monday afternoon.
The Cardinals (2-12) got a hat-trick from senior Tristan Engle, the first of his high school career, while fellow senior goalkeeper Parker Meholick recorded his first career win in net.
Both teams had to deal with soaked field conditions throughout the game, something the home side seemed to handle better than the visiting Panthers.
“We told them at the beginning of the game there’s a lot of water on the field and if you play everything on the ground it’s gonna skip,” DCC head coach Phil Esposito said. “We told our offensive players to run past the defenders because it’ll skip and they’ll miss.”
It did not take DCC long to capitalize on the wet field conditions, as Keystone had trouble clearing a ball in the third minute.
The failed clearance attempt led to Jonathan Ritsick gaining possession in the Panthers’ box as he found an open Engle just outside of the 18-yard box.
Engle hit a well-struck shot just inside the near post to give his team the early lead on the first shot of the game for either side.
Keystone dominated the possession over the next several minutes in the Cardinals’ end of the field, leading to a trio of shots and a corner kick, but the visitors were unable to get on the board.
Two of those shots were off target, while Meholick turned the only one on frame away for his first of nine saves in the victory.
DuBois Central then began to put pressure back in the Keystone end over the next 15 plus minutes, as Engle looked to tally his second of the game in the 13th minute, but saw his shot form well outside the box bounce back into play off the crossbar.
In the 18th minute the Cardinals earned their third corner kick of the half as Colin Barnett took the corner and sent a sweeping cross into the middle of the box.
The ball deflected to Rachel Aravich, who settled the ball and dropped a pass off to Cade Peck near the top of the box as the junior sent a shot towards goal.
Peck’s shot found its way just inside the left post and out of the reach of Keystone goalkeeper Chance Buzard as DCC doubled its lead 12:45 into the game.
The Cardinals continued to put pressure on the Keystone defense through the midway point of the opening half, as that pressure led to their third goal of the afternoon in the 24th minute.
Miscommunication between a pair of Panther defenders allowed Ritsick to come away with a steal in the Keystone box as he then got by the pair of defenders and converted a close range shot to make it a three-goal advantage at the 16:24 mark of the first half.
Just over a minute later, Keystone’s Cameron Easton made a long run into the Cardinals’ box and got off a shot that was turned away by Meholick, but deflected out the end line for a corner.
After back-to-back corner kick attempts were sent out the end line by DCC defenders, Koby Buzard got set to take the third corner for the visitors.
The cross sailed into a crowd in the middle of the 6-yard box as Tye Elder was able to redirect the ball into the back of the net to make it a 3-1 game with 13:39 remaining in the first half.
Despite the teams trading scoring chances down the stretch, neither side was able to add to their goal total in the closing minutes as DCC held a two-goal lead at the half.
Early in the second half Harrison Starr was taken down at the edge of the box earning the Cardinals a free kick as Engle stepped up to take the direct kick.
Engle fired a shot on goal that sailed over the outstretched arms of Chance Buzard and under the cross bar as it found the side netting at the far post to give DCC a 4-1 lead just 4:29 into the second half.
Just a minute and nine seconds later the Cardinals pushed their lead to four goals when Barnett sent a pass to Engle who found the back of the net once again to compete his first hat-trick in his high school career.
Keystone tallied the final goal of the game with just 3:53 left to play as Easton carried the ball into the box and Meholick came off his line to pressure the play.
The ball bounced around and eventually found its way to Elder, who took advantage of the open look at goal for his second tally of the game to bring the final score to 5-2.
DuBois Central finished with a 22-16 edge in shots on the game as Chance Buzard made nine saves for the Panthers in a losing effort, while the Cardinals earned 14 corner kicks to Keystone’s eight.
“It was a long time coming,” Esposito said of the win. “The past five or six games we’ve worked hard, the score has been a lot closer, we’ve been scoring goals and you knew sooner or later we were gonna get the win.”
“It was a great team win and we’ve got a couple more games coming up that could be winnable games so we’re excited to see what happens.”
DuBois Central Catholic plays host to Karns City Thursday at 4 p.m.