Eli Mullen

Eli Mullen clears the ball for Washington Catholic on Tuesday at South Knox.

MONROE CITY — Although the Washington Catholic Cardinals (6-6-3) posted six wins in 2021 for one of the team’s best seasons in recent years, it didn’t help to draw unbeaten South Knox in the opening round of the class A South Knox sectional on Tuesday.

The Spartans posted a 7-0 win and gave up just two shots to WC.

“It’s the best record we’ve had in six years for the school, so I’m pretty proud of the guys who put in a ton of effort. We did come across a team that was 15-0-1 and they’re playing very strong. They play a physical game and it’s hard to match,” said coach Dan Maley, who also announced that he was stepping down as head coach.

“We went from no wins to six wins and that’s another big jump. There is a lot stuff that goes into building a program we’re a long way from where we want to be, but yeah, there’s definitely progress and we played a lot of very good soccer this year.”

South Knox gave themselves a 1-0 lead less than 2:00 into the game as Ibiza Aguirre used a header to beat Cardinal keeper Jack Halter.

Three minutes later, it was Dakota Candler with the goal and the 2-0 margin.

WC did get a pair of opportunities from Sean Babrick, but at 31:59 SK’s Abe Singleton got a pass from Owen Lancaster to make it 3-0. The goals kept coming for the Spartans as Candler banged home his second goal in the 14th minute to make it 4-0, while less than a minute later, the Spartans scored again and sent the game into a running clock after the fifth goal.

The Spartans continued to control the action in the final 10 minutes of the half, but WC’s Halter did come up with a PK stop in the final seconds, to keep it at 5-0 at the half.

The Spartans added a sixth goal as Aguirre scored again with just five minutes gone in the second half.

WC stepped up defensively and shut down the scoring chances, while Bronson Bryant and Mark Kanapia had some nice runs, but it was SK’s Pedro Pantall who would dent the back of the dent to make it 7-0 with 12:00 left and fish off the win.

South Knox moves on to play the winner of the Lighthouse Christian/Bloomfield game.

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