MAYFIELD - The Middleburgh Knights tried to take away the Mayfield Panthers' leading scorer during Monday night's Western Athletic Conference game.
It partially worked.
While the Knights' John Wrigley was successful in keeping Dylan Toscano, who has scored 14 goals so far this season, out of the net, Wrigley couldn't keep Toscano from finding his teammates in the Panthers' 4-0 win, as he registered three assists.
Mayfield’s Jordan Ryder, left, defends Middleburgh’s Taylor Lucas (13) as teammate as Mayfield’s Todd Briggs looks on during Monday’s Western Athletic Conference game in Mayfield. (The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo)
"They had one kid on me the whole game," Toscano said. "He was basically behind me. I just tried to move the ball quickly when it came to me, and I was able to find Jordan Ryder for a few goals there."
Ryder scored three of the Panthers' goals, but it was Josh Ivancic, who got the Panthers on the board in the 11th minute on a corner kick, a situation where Wrigley's defense couldn't hamper him.
Toscano sent his kick from the right side and Ivancic got a head on the ball and tucked it inside the left post, past Middleburgh goalkeeper Nick Righi for a 1-0 lead.
"It's always good to score first, obviously because you get momentum and a lot of energy throughout the game, and we just kept going," Toscano said.
The next goal came just a few minutes later. This time, Toscano found his way into the 18-yard box and took a shot that ricocheted off Righi, who finished with six saves, Ryder kept on the ball and blasted it into the back of the net to double the Panthers' lead.
"We have a lot of weapons and Dylan was able to figure out what they were doing and moved the ball quickly," Mayfield coach Jon Caraco said. "Jordan Ryder and Josh Ivancic made beautiful runs off the ball. Briggs got in a few times and it just worked out because when we play unselfishly and pass the ball well, we're a pretty good team."
Caraco said the Panthers' fell out of their defensive shape after taking a 2-0 lead, allowing the Knights (2-6-1 overall, 2-6-1 WAC) to get a few chances on Mayfield goalkeeper, who finished with two saves.
While the defense kept Middleburgh off the scoreboard, Ryder collected his second goal when he dribbled it into the box and scored off an assist from Toscano.
"With Dylan being marked up, he's good with getting around balls," Ryder said. "He got me an assist and we got another one. We just worked."
Caraco said Toscano's goal settled the Panthers down, and the fourth goal, a header by Ryder off a direct kick from Josh Ivancic, put the game away.
"We knew the first goal in the second half was either going to kill the game off or make it an incredibly tough match," Caraco said. "Luckily, Jordan got his head on that cross from Josh, which really may not have been an on-purpose cross. Regardless, he got his head on that and after that, we really settled down."
With the Panthers (6-3-0 overall, 5-3-0 WAC) cruising, Caraco subbed in some of the team's reserve players, including backup goalkeeper Lucas VanNostrand, who was called upon to make only one save in his nearly 25 minutes in the net.
Since losing their first three games to start the season, Mayfield has won six straight games. Two of those losses came to divisional opponents Galway and Mekeel Christian Academy. The Panthers will get another shot at those two teams later in the season.
"We've won a few games in a row here and we're on a little bit of a roll," Caraco said. "If we can keep it up and get through the second half with a little bit of momentum, we've got a lot of talent."