By Jim Rueda
---- — NORTH MANKATO — The heat was relentless up at Dakota Meadows field Tuesday evening, and so was the Mankato West attack.
The Scarlets' boys soccer team put 22 shots on the Southwest Minnesota Christian net and came away with an 8-0 shutout.
Jake Makela led the West assault with three goals and two assists. Ro Flores and Dillon Lambert added two goals apiece, and Matt Ouren scored once. Ouren finished with three assists, and Tyler Burandt had one.
"I like the way we communicated today," West coach Leonard Woelfel said. "Our mids talked well with out outsides, and that helped us move the ball."
With temperatures in the low 90s, officials and coaches decided to build in some water breaks during each half of play. The respites seemed to work well as nobody complained of any heat-related problems.
"When the sun was up, it was pretty hot out there," the freshman Makela said. "But we handled it well.
"I thought we played a very good game today. We had our offense going, and the defense didn't give them any good chances. It was a solid all-around effort."
Makela said the key for the Scarlets is to get off to a fast start. If they can control the ball right away and score the first goal, it makes everything else a lot easier.
"Quick starts are what we're looking for," he said. "It's so much easier to play from ahead than it is from behind. That's the approach we take into every game."
Flores was one of the few players on the field who welcomed the heat.
"I love it when it's hot," he said. "If we could get it up into the 100s, that would be great."
Flores got to play a lot Tuesday, mostly because of the continuous subbing by Woelfel. The veteran coach made hydration a priority before and during the game, and it seemed to pay off.
"When we practiced (Monday), we did the same thing we did today," he said. "We subbed a lot and took water breaks. I told the kids to stay hydrated over night and today, too, and it looked like they handled the heat well."
Makela scored the first three goals of the game before he allowed his teammates to get into the action. Lambert scored the fourth goal, opening the floodgates for the West attack. Flores scored the final two goals.
"We have a pretty good team," Flores said. "We've all grown up playing soccer together so the chemistry is there. I think we're capable of making a state run this year."
Woelfel didn't want to make such a bold prediction, particularly this early in the season, but he saw some good things on the field Tuesday.
"There's always little things you can clean up," he said. "But it was a good game for us. We just have to keep moving forward."
The victory improves West's record to 2-1. The Scarlets are off until Tuesday when they take on crosstown rival Mankato East at Dakota Meadows Field. Game time is 5 p.m.