Winfield High School freshman Zach Hammar recorded his second hat trick of the season Thursday afternoon, leading the host Vikings to a 4-1 triumph against arch rival Arkansas City on the pitch at Richard L. Jantz Stadium.
The Vikings (4-5) swept the annual two-game fútbol Cowley Cup series, having won 5-4 on Sept. 4 in Ark City.
“Obviously, we are thrilled to come away with our second win against Ark City,” WHS coach Charles Osen said. “We were fortunate to hold on down there and I felt fortunate again tonight. They just kept the pressure on us. That beginning to the second half was not easy to watch as they really amped up the pressure. Once we got that fourth goal, I felt like we could breathe a little bit.”
Hammar gave Winfield a 1-0 lead just 2 1/2 minutes into the match when he bent in a corner kick.
The Vikings made it 2-0 when Hammar converted a penalty kick five minutes later.
It stayed that way until midway through the first half when junior Leon Mena cut the deficit in half off a feed from senior Dilen Gill for the Bulldogs (2-6).
Hammar recorded the natural hat trick off a pass from senior Ty Biby five minutes before halftime to make it a two-goal lead again.
“It is so exciting to see Zach have that success as a freshmen — he loves this game,” Osen said.
“I never thought I would have a freshman take most of our corner kicks and our penalty kicks, but I believe in him so much, it feels like an easy decision. He has always been very skilled, but sometimes it’s tough for freshmen to realize just how hard you have to play at the varsity level. I feel like he played as hard tonight as he has all season. In fact, that holds true for our whole team, playing hard and intense for 80 minutes; I felt like we all did that tonight.”
Ark City clamped down on defense out of the break, but was unable to create scoring chances.
Hammar scored his fourth goal on a breakaway with 10 minutes remaining.
“It’s hard to find words to describe how disappointed we are with our overall performance,” ACHS coach Andy Stone said. “There is no doubt in my mind that we are better than the way we played today. We have created a culture of no excuses, so we will continue to work hard in practice and strive to get better and ultimately more consistent.”
Hammar also recorded a hat trick on Sept. 12 against El Dorado and leads the Vikings with nine goals.
“It is always easy to look at the box score and see that Zach scored four goals — he was the star of the night. He definitely was good, but this was such a team effort,” Osen said.
“Ty Biby played all 80 minutes and we kept him on Gill all night because we respect him so much. Our holding midfielder, Julien Washington, orchestrates everything we do. Our strikers, Gunther Flower and Josh Aguirre, played so hard all night; our back four defenders played the whole game and did great, and our first-year goalie, Victor Peroo, is getting better and better. We were missing two starters, Grayson Moreland and Albert Compala — what a great job for our whole team to overcome that, accept their role and their challenge, and get the win.”
The Vikings resume AV-CTL D-III play Tuesday at Rose Hill. Mulvane and Rose Hill were the only D-IV schools with soccer programs, so they joined D-III.
The Bulldogs return home Tuesday for a D-II tilt with Maize South.
“I would like to congratulate the Winfield team and their coaches, in particular, (Hammar), who had an outstanding game. He was simply unplayable today,” Stone said. “I wish Winfield the best for the rest of their season.”
Winfield 4, Arkansas City 1
W — Zach Hammar (corner kick), 37:21.
W — Hammar (penalty kick), 32:14.
AC — Leon Mena (Dilen Gill), 18:00.
W — Hammar (Ty Biby), 4:53.
W — Hammar (unassisted), 10:05.
Saves — (not recorded). Total Shots — Ark City 13, Winfield 18. Corner Kicks — Ark City 6, Winfield 4. Fouls — Ark City 9, Winfield 10.