OIL CITY — It took an extra session for the Titusville Rockets boys soccer team to pick up a narrow 2-1 victory over the Oil City Oilers in their first matchup a few weeks ago. Coming into Monday’s rematch, the Rockets were looking for a much faster start.
With four goals in the opening half, all scored by Sam Ruot, the Rockets surged past the Oilers in a 6-0 shutout win in Oil City for the team’s second straight victory.
Ruot landed the “perfect hat trick” landing goals off his left and right foot, along with a header to give the Titusville forward seven goals in his last two games and 10 overall on the season. Liam Thompson recorded his first varsity goal in the second half, and added another a few minutes later to round out the Rocket scoring.
Anton Morrison-Sanchez assisted on two goals, while Zaden Dahle, Owen Reib and Campbell Sines also collected an assist each. Joey Banner and Dahle combined on the shutout in goal.
“It was huge,” Titusville coach Joey Timon said of the victory. “The shutout, I think, is the biggest part there. It was a good team effort. We are hoping to take this energy from getting two in a row now into our game on Wednesday.”
Titusville got on the board about 15 minutes into the Region 4 contest. Morrison-Sanchez made a key hustle play, when he put in the extra effort to keep the ball alive down the sideline and prevent it from going out of bounds as the Rockets were transitioning to the attack. He then fed the ball to Ruot, who took it on goal and sent it past the Oiler netminder with 26:21 on the clock.
About four minutes later, Ruot struck again when he worked the ball away from an Oil City defender near midfield and converted his breakaway chance.
Near the midway point of the first half, Ruot tallied his third goal in about a six-minute span. Frank Barger took a throw-in in the attacking zone, which was played by Reib. The touch from Reib sailed high into the box, where Ruot connected on the header to put the Rockets up 3-0 at the 20:34 mark.
Banner made a critical save to keep the Oilers from getting back in the contest with 8:16 left in the half. On an Oil City throw-in inside the offensive zone, the ball settled in the middle of the box at the feet of a member of the Blue and White. The ensuing shot looked like it was going to come in just under the crossbar for a goal, but it was hauled in by a leaping Banner.
Ruot later founded the back of the twine one final time when he took a through ball from Sines to goal with 2:10 remaining in the opening frame.
“We just wanted to prove ourselves,” Ruot said after the game. “Last time was kind of embarrassing. We won in overtime against these guys, so it felt good to show up today and play as a team. All of my goals were because we passed and played as a team. We all worked together and gave each other chances.”
With a 4-0 lead heading into the second half, Timon had the opportunity to give his starting players a chance to rest and take the game in, while his bench players saw varsity time.
Banner was pulled from his post in goal with 18:42 remaining in the contest. Before leaving, the senior made nine saves. Dahle finished out the game, making a pair of saves.
Titusville struggled to get an attack going with the starters pulled, but once they did, they capitalized.
Under 10 minutes to go, Dahle booted the ball toward midfield on a goal kick, and Thompson played the chance perfectly. He carried the ball right to goal and converted his first varsity goal at the 9:16 mark. Less than a minute later, Thompson scored again by sending a shot over the Oiler goalkeeper after retrieving a pass from Morrison-Sanchez. Thompson’s pair of goals capped off an impressive win for the Rockets.
“You can tell some of them were blown away at first,” Timon said of his younger players. “Then, we kind of settled down and held our own. It’s nice (to get them in) when you don’t have as many JV games. Getting them that experience is important, and it’s also nice for the varsity kids to get to watch so they can see some of the things we are trying to teach them.”
Titusville took 23 shots during the contest with 11 going on goal. Oil City mustered up 22 shots as 11 of those were on target.
Titusville (5-4) will host Franklin on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Rockets beat the Knights 3-2 in Franklin on Sept. 17.