SOCCER

Zezulka's hat trick leads to shutout win for Griffins

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Dutchtown's Zayne Zezulka scored three of Dutchtown's four goals in their shutout win over Mandeville. Photo by Tammy Gaudin.

Last season, Dutchtown only lost two games. Both were to Mandeville--including a heartbreaking second-round playoff defeat that ended their year.

The Griffins refused to let the Skippers get the best of them in three straight meetings.

Led by Zayne Zezulka, Dutchtown scored two goals within the first seven minutes of the game. From there, it was smooth sailing as they blanked Mandeville, 4-0, at home on Friday night to notch their sixth straight victory.

"Last year, they were the ones that put the two L's on us, and I think that had a lot to do with how we came out in the first 20 minutes of this ball game," Griffin head coach Rene Bourgeois said. "We definitely didn't want to come off this field with another loss and make it three in a row. It was definitely motivation for us to come out hard, play smart, make good passes and finish when we had the chance."

The Dutchtown offense had been in a groove coming into the contest. In their five-game winning streak, they were averaging five goals per contest.

That explosiveness carried over to Friday night.

Less than two minutes into the game, Sethan Ward got the ball out front to Zezulka as he drove to the net.

Though he was faced with a tough angle, Zezulka made a tremendous shot with a defender in his hip pocket. The kick snuck into the corner of the goal to put the Griffins up 1-0.

Just five minutes later, Brock Colon made a nice dish to Zezulka, and he fired it past the goalkeeper from 10 yards out to extend the lead to 2-0.

Dutchtown had opportunities to score later in the half, but they just missed.

One goal by Ward was negated by an offsides call.

In the first half, Dutchtown out-shot Mandeville, 13-2.

The offense went back to work early in the second half, and once again, it was Zezulka that was the spark.

Just one minute in, Alec Snell made a throw in that Zezulka sent past the goalie with a beautiful header to put Dutchtown ahead, 3-0.

At the 51sth minute, the Griffins putting the finishing touches on the victory.

After a foul in the box, Michael Greer got a penalty kick. His initial shot was saved, but the deflection sent the ball right back to him, and he kicked it into the open net.

Zezulka and the Dutchtown offense was near unstoppable throughout the 80 minutes.

Zezulka chalked up the hat trick, and the Griffins finished the game with 26 shots.

"He (Zezulka) definitely had some great looks at the goal," Bourgeois said. "He made two good turns on the defenders and took a quick shot, instead of taking an extra touch and letting the goalie get into position. The quick shot is what allowed him to get two of those three goals, and they were huge to get that lead on these guys."

Meanwhile, the Dutchtown defense held up their end of the bargain. They only allowed seven shots.

"You have to look almost two seconds ahead of the actual play, and you have to read what they're doing, pick up the angles, intercept the pass and get a quick counter goal," Bourgeois said. "That's pretty much what we did for the first 30 minutes of the first half. We kind of relaxed with the two-goal lead, and we almost gave them one on the free kick.

"At halftime, we pretty much said that we needed to come out like we did in the first 30 minutes, and that's pretty much what happened."

The victory improved Dutchtown to 7-1-1 overall.