GLEN DALE - Looking for its first victory and still battling numerous injuries, it just wasn't the right time for Wheeling Park to be rolling into town for a boys' soccer match with John Marshall. Of course, while Coach Mario Julian's Patriots are red-hot right now, there really never is a good time to be facing the talented Ohio County squad.
Wheeling Park shook off a poor first-half showing with six second-half goals including a pair in the initial 2:45, and the defense did the rest in an 8-0 blanking of the Monarchs at John Marshall High School.
After starting the season 0-3-2, Park has reeled off four consecutive victories, all shutouts, heading into a Saturday matchup with powerful Woodrow Wilson at Beckley.
''We came out and really didn't have much energy in the first half,'' Julian said. ''But we were coming off a big win over Linsly on Tuesday and sometimes it is hard to get up for a game like this in just a couple of days.
''The effort just wasn't there in the first half and we should have been finishing goals that we didn't.''
That first half did include a pair of scores, but it also included many missed opportunities in which the Patriots continuously found themselves in front of the John Marshall net, only to come away with nothing.
Junior Nate Mauck got the scoring going at 36:58 when he buried a 15-footer into the back corner of the net past a diving Collin Stipetich.
At the 22:13 mark, freshman Landon Irwin was credited with a goal that hit off a Monarchs defender and glanced off Stipetich to make the count 2-0, which stood for the remainder of the half.
The second half was a different story as the Patriots came out with fire in their eyes after a stern talk from Julian at the break.
Senior Jerry Lucas got the parade of goals started 1:50 in and added another midway through the half. Classmate Ronnell Davis buried a rebounded shot less than a minute after Lucas' first goal, that made it a quick 4-0 count.
Grant Robertson's laser off of a well-placed corner kick upped the margin to 5-0 at 29:39 and the rout was on. After Lucas' second goal at 22:26, senior Woody Pond and junior Zach Vanhorn capped the scoring barrage.
''I told the kids at the half that they have Wheeling Park on the fronts of their jerseys and they are held to a high standard because of that,'' Julian said. ''They came out, played tough and executed the system and plan.
''This is our fourth shutout in a row and that is something that I, and this team, are very proud of and also something that we want to continue.''
For John Marshall coach Brian Noble it was another ''noble'' effort by his team.
''I think that is the first time we have been able to record a shot on them in a long time,'' Noble said with a smile. ''I think we held our own on defense in the first half, but eventually the injuries took their toll and we just wore out.
''But overall, I cannot be happier with the effort these guys put in.''
In all, Stipetich defended 11 of Wheeling Park's 18 shots while Patriots junior keeper Ryan Seidewitz batted away all four of the Monarchs attempts.