EVERETT — Junior midfielder Nathaniel Maxwell’s role on the Everett Area High School boys soccer team is that of a playmaker — somebody whose job is to take possession of the ball and make things happen with it.
“As a midfielder, you really want to win balls, and try to play a central role with possession, as well as distribute the ball,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell accomplished his job in exemplary fashion Wednesday night, scoring four goals and assisting on another to lead Everett to a 7-0 victory over Ligonier Valley in a District 5-6 Class 2A quarterfinal-round matchup on the Everett Area High School field.
Second-seeded Everett (16-1) moves on to play the winner of tonight’s Bedford at Cambria Heights quarterfinal game in the semifinals on Monday at a site and time to be determined.
Maxwell scored three of his four goals in the first half as Everett jumped out to a 3-0 lead at intermission.
“We wanted to come out really good and play with a lot of intensity,” Maxwell said. “We put a lot of shots on goal. It was probably our best effort all year. It was a lot of fun.”
Maxwell wheeled around with the ball in front of the net and put an unassisted shot past Ligonier Valley junior Andrew Kuzemchak to open the scoring 24:10 into the game.
He then kicked a shot that dribbled past the fallen Kuzemchak at the 33:14 mark to make it a 2-0 game, before taking a loose ball on the left side of the field and putting it past Kuzemchak with just 67 seconds left in the half to give Everett its 3-0 halftime lead.
“Nathaniel is like the ‘X’ factor for us,” Everett coach Brad Zembower said. “He’s just as fast with the ball as without it. I’ve got a handful of players on this team who can single-handedly take over a game, and he’s one of them.”
Senior Bailey Foor also scored two goals and added an assist for Everett, which greatly controlled time of possession and field position through the entire 80 minutes while outshooting Ligonier Valley, 28-4.
“Turnovers and time of possession were big factors tonight,” said Ligonier Valley coach Kip Crumrine, whose team entered the tournament as the seventh seed and finished the year with a 10-9 record. “We turned the ball over too many times, and we didn’t possess it enough. Kudos to them — they capitalized on our turnovers. They have a nice team.”
Everett controlled the second half much as it did the first half. Had it not been for several excellent saves by Kuzemchak in both halves, the score would have been even more one-sided.
“We had a lot of opportunities, and as we kept at it, the goals started coming,” Zembower said.
Bailey Foor’s goal at 5:14 of the second half and his younger brother, Brady Foor’s goal at 5:35 made it a 5-0 lead for Everett.
Maxwell scored his fourth and final goal of the night at 17:52, and Bailey Foor added his second goal at 34:01 to wrap up the scoring.
“We got off to a good start, but there are a lot of things that we have to clean up,” Zembower said. “We can’t let up. We’ve got to play hard every game.”
SCORE BY HALVES
Ligonier Valley 0 0 — 0
Everett 3 4 — 7
First half: 1, E–Maxwell (unassisted), 24:10. 2, E–Maxwell (Brady Foor), 33:14. 3, E–Maxwell (unassisted), 38:53.
Second half: 4, E–Bailey Foor (Maxwell, Brady Foor), 5:14. 5, E–Brady Foor (Hood), 5:35. 6, E–Maxwell (Bailey Foor), 17:52. 7, E–Bailey Foor (Brady Foor), 34:01.
Shots on goal: Everett 28 (Kuzemchak, Ligonier Valley 21 saves); Ligonier Valley 4 (Klotz, Everett, 4 saves).
Records: Ligonier Valley (10-7); Everett (16-1).