DOVER — For the first time all season, coach Allen Ware said his team finally has been fully healthy for the 5A-6 district tournament. And that’s bad news for Newsome’s upcoming postseason opponents.
Jake Vander Luit notched a hat trick as top-seeded Newsome cruised to the district title with a 5-1 win against Durant on Friday.
“Jake is a quality player,” Ware said. “He opens up a lot of things for us up top.”
Vander Luit, who had missed two months with torn ligaments in his ankle, returned for the semifinal win Wednesday against Strawberry Crest. Since coming back, Newsome (15-5-1) has outscored opponents 12-1, and Vander Luit has accounted for five goals. Fellow striker Eric Lint has four goals during that stretch.
“Me and Eric (Lint) are a pretty good threat up top,” Vander Luit said. “We’ve been playing together since we were 5 years old.”
Vander Luit put the Wolves up 1-0 on a penalty kick that found the bottom right of the net, just past the outstretched arms of Durant keeper Logan Whitney. The speedy striker went five hole for his second goal a minute before halftime and completed the hat trick with a unmarked tally in the match’s final two minutes.
“Jake is one of the best around,” Ware said. “He’s got a lot of speed. Deceptive speed.”
Newsome’s Jacob Chadwell ran under a long service from Austin Cobb and beat Whitney one-on-one in the 36th minute. Lint, who had a hat trick against the Chargers on Wednesday, tapped in his own blocked penalty kick that put Newsome up 4-0 10 minutes out of halftime. Javier Jimenez’s volley in the 58th minute was the Cougars’ (7-5-2) lone strike.