SAND HILLS — Corey Joseph recorded his first shot on goal 12 seconds into the game.
Many more followed.
Joseph finished with a hat trick, and Bay cruised to a 5-0 victory over host Bozeman at Bucks Field in a District 1-2A boys soccer game Tuesday night.
The Tornadoes improved to 2-4-1 overall and 2-1 in the district. Bozeman fell to 0-5 overall and in district play.
“Honestly, we haven’t been doing too great,” said Joseph, a junior who was part of a Bay club that advanced to the Region 1-2A semifinals last year. “That’s what I mean by us trying to build a family. There are a lot of games out there we could have won.”
Bay has had to replace numerous players who graduated last year, and Joseph noted many of those players are part of a sizable freshman class. He said team camaraderie is coming together, but it’s been a trying process. On the bright side, he noted, the team has purged several players who didn’t subscribe to the culture the program has been trying to build and sustain and now has younger players eager to contribute in that effort.
“We have a lot of players who know what they’re doing, and we have a couple who can play with the ball at their feet,” Joseph said. “Mostly this year we’ve been a defensive team, and we’ve had to work on that, too.”
Joseph nearly scored moments after the game’s opening kickoff when he unleashed a shot from 25 yards out that required a solid save by Bozeman goalkeeper David Calzada to deny it. Joseph wouldn’t be denied for long, however, and he broke a scoreless tie in the 23rd minute. Joseph dribbled through several defenders before depositing the ball in the lower-right corner of the goal.
Joseph tallied his second goal in the 36th minute on a free kick. Bozeman didn’t position a wall of defenders close enough to Joseph, and he made them pay with a low, screaming drive that navigated through a forest of legs and into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Bay teammate Jacob Morrow, who frequently had the ball at his feet and dictated play in the middle of the field, gave the Tornadoes a three-goal lead at halftime with his tally in the 38th minute. Morrow stole the ball from a Bozeman player deep in the Bucks’ half of the field, quickly pirouetted and beat Calzada with a well-placed shot.
Joseph completed his hat trick on a penalty kick following a hand ball in the 51st minute. He drove the ball to his right and tucked it inside the right post.
Zac Watson, who began the game serving as the Tornadoes’ goalkeeper, scored a goal with 12 minutes remaining to provide the final margin.
Bozeman coach Sean Fields, who described his team as a “football team that plays soccer,” credited the effort that his players produced both against Bay and throughout the season. His roster consists of a number of football players who participate in the sport between football and weightlifting in the spring.
“The kids understand that we’re not necessarily a soccer school,” Fields said. “They love the game. They want to win and play hard.”