Butler boys soccer opens section with 5-0 win
Butler's Justin Stewart (9) battles with Shaler defender Tanner Grzegorczyk (19) during the Golden Tornado's 5-0 soccer victory Tuesday night. Stewart scored three goals in the contest.
DAVE PRELOSKY/ BUTLER EAGLE
BUTLER TWP — Butler's boys soccer team is determined to make a big improvement on last year's 1-6-3 record in section play.
If Tuesday night's home game against Shaler is any indication, the Golden Tornado are well on their way to doing just that.
Senior midfielder Justin Stewart managed a hat trick as Butler's offensive push was too much for the Titans, who felt the sting of a 5-0 loss in the section opener for both teams.
The Tornado were 0-1-1 against Shaler in 2016.
“It's very important for us to come out and get a win in the first section game,” said Butler coach Troy Mohney. “And to have it come in such a decisive manner, it's exciting. Hopefully, we can keep it going.”
Junior Tate Mohney gave the hosts an early lead, tucking a free kick from 20 yards in between Shaler goalkeeper Matt Potock and the crossbar in the third minute of play.
“Getting that first goal early, it helps everyone relax,” said Troy Mohney. “If something bad happens at that point, players are more likely to just let it roll off their back.”
It was just the beginning of Butler's onslaught. Stewart scored his first two goals in the first half as Butler enjoyed a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes. Stewart's first tally came off an assist from Tate Mohney while his second was on a rebound from a Mohney shot.
Despite the lopsided score, Potock played well and kept the game from getting further out of Shaler's grasp. The senior stopped 10 shots, many of them diving saves.
“He was All-WPIAL last year and I think he's one of the best goalies in the WPIAL again this season,” said Shaler coach Adam Hunter. “We have North Allegheny and Seneca Valley coming up and I think our kids had their minds on those games, but they shouldn't have been.”
The Tornado earned four corner kicks in the first half. The team's persistent attack isn't going away, according to Stewart.
“We play with a very high tempo,” he said. “We don't let teams rest and are go, go, go, all the time.”
Butler goalie Andrew Chwalik made four saves in the game. His presence in net is another reason for Butler's optimism.
“He's a three-year starter,” said Troy Mohney. “I coach Andrew with Northern Steel and he has played at the highest level. It makes everyone on the team comfortable to know that they have a goalkeeper behind them who is going to come up big when he has to.”
Sophomore Donovan Uber scored for Butler in the 44th minute before Stewart achieved a hat trick less than a minute later.
Butler (2-1, 1-0) travels to Pine-Richland Thursday.
“We still have some things to work on,” Troy Mohney added, “but we're creating a lot of chances and limiting the chances against us.”