In its first two league matches this season, the North Thurston boys soccer team combined to score one goal, and the lack of scoring punch resulted in a pair of losses.
It looks as if the Rams have finally located their offense.
North Thurston got second-half goals from Ian MacLean, Tommy Johnson, Jack Harrison and Ethan Donovan to hammer Capital, 5-0, in 3A Narrows League play at Ingersoll Stadium on Thursday.
“I don’t really know where the offense came from,” Johnson said. “Tonight, we just executed. We’ve been working on a lot of things this week in practice. It just all came together. We had some tough losses to Lincoln and Wilson. Everyone just continued to work hard. It’s nice to come out and play like this.”
The win snaps the Rams’ two-match skid and improves their record to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the league.
Diego Rodriguez registered the shutout.
“This was the exact opposite from last year,” said North Thurston sophomore Jackson Winterrowd about the Rams, who dropped both regular season meetings against the Cougars last season. “Momentum is huge. Once we got that train started, everyone just fed off of each other.”
Capital (2-2, 1-1) had limited its first three opponents to four goals, with three of those coming in a non-league loss to Olympia.
Leading 1-0 at the half, North Thurston increased its lead on Donovan’s tally in the 42nd minute as the sophomore emerged from traffic to tap in Charles Jellison’s free kick.
The successful set play ignited an avalanche of offense for the Rams, who had been stale in previous league losses to Lincoln and Wilson.
North Thurston scored twice in less than a minute, getting McLean’s goal in the 49th minute and Johnson’s score in the 50th.
Harrison added the fifth goal in the 59th minute, giving the Rams as many goals in a 19-minute stretch as they had in their previous three matches combined.
The Cougars found themselves faced with an early deficit after an own goal less than 2 minutes into the match.
North Thurston went up 1-0 after a centering pass in front of the net by Johnson was misplayed by Capital defender William Klemmer, bouncing off the junior’s leg and into the goal.
Despite failing to generate too many scoring opportunities, the Rams did control the pace for much of the opening 20 minutes of play before the Cougars were able to find some life midway through the first half.
Capital got its first scoring chance in the 25th minute when a pass dangerously floated in front of the Rams net, and Sam Reimertz just missed connecting on a header. Seth Sawyers tried to punch in the rebound, but Rodriguez came up with the stop.
Riley Potkonjak nearly got the Cougars on the scoreboard in the 29th minute, but the junior’s blast from the right side failed to find the mark as it hit the left post.
Sam Bigelow, who was Capital’s goalkeeper in the first half, made several late saves in the opening frame to keep it a one-goal contest. None were bigger than when he corralled an Ian Gibbons shot from point-blank range in the 35th minute.