By Jim Rueda
---- — NORTH MANKATO — If there was any doubt that Mankato West was deserving of the No. 1 seed in the Section 2A boys soccer tournament, they have been erased.
After a close first half, the Scarlets manhandled No. 9 seed Hutchinson at Dakota Meadows Field for a 10-0 decision on Thursday. West had a 25-3 advantange in shots on goal, and coach Leonard Woelfel said there was a good reason his team started slow.
"We were against the wind in the first, and I think this is the first time we've every played Hutchinson so we really didn't know anything about them," he said. "We wanted to play it cautious.
"I know they came in with a 7-7 record and the last thing we wanted to do was to let them score early and get the jump on us. Once we had the wind in our favor, we were able to open things up a a little bit."
Matt Ouren scored the only goal the Scarlets needed at the 9:46 mark, turning a pass from Tyler Burandt into a header that found the net. Twenty-three minutes later, Ouren scored again on a penalty kick and West took a 2-0 lead into the break.
In the second half, Dillon Lambert ignited the West attack by converting a penalty kick from about 9 yards out after getting knocked down inside the box. Less then four minutes later, Jacob Makela hit a rocket from near the top of the 18 to up the lead to 4-0.
Lambert then completed his hat trick, deking a defender for a wide-open shot at 55;10 and then depositng a left-footer at the 60:24 mark.
"I don't know how much a factor the wind was," Lambert said. "I think we just got our passing down better and capitalized more on our opportunities in the second half. We just kind of got on a roll, and the goals kept coming."
Over the next 15 minutes, James Miller, Rolando Flores and Christopher Cordova each scored. Woelfel emptied his bench for the last 25 minutes, except for Kier Oxnard, who moved from defense to striker.
"He's a senior and was saying he wanted a chance to score a goal before he graduates so we moved him up," Woelfel said. "It turns out he got a goal and an assist."
Oxnard scored his team's last goal with eight minutes to play. Paul Esslinger, Ouren, Cordova, Burandt and Oxnard all finished with assists.
Sam Farley got the shutout with three saves.
West (13-3-1) resumes section play Tuesday with a 4:15 p.m. home game against the winner of New Ulm and Worthington.