WILMINGTON — A few things happened in St. Elizabeth’s soccer game Oct. 10 against Howard that had not occurred before this season for the Vikings. The biggest difference, and the one that mattered most, was that when the final whistle sounded, the Vikings were the victors. Colin Hockenbrock notched a hat trick, and Chase Robinson added two more, in an 8-1 triumph.
Another difference was the location of the game. It was held at the 76ers Fieldhouse, but not on the outdoor field. It was inside on the turf, on a pitch that was significantly larger than most high school fields. And any spectators who wandered into the building were sent to watch from a balcony behind one of the goals.
With 22 players on the roster, St. Elizabeth was able to substitute liberally, while Howard had just two extra players available. After an early surge, the Wildcats simply couldn’t keep up with their fresher opponents.
Once the Vikings took control, the goals started to come. A header off a corner kick was just wide in the 15th minute, but two minutes later, they broke through. Colin Hockenbrock took a through ball from Joshua Christof at the top of the 18-yard box, and he sent a shot waist-high to the left of Wildcats goalkeeper Daniel Garcia-Tapia.
Wesley Gant made a few saves for St. Elizabeth before the offense struck again. After a steal, Justin Winward dribbled deep and crossed to his left to Hockenbrock, who tapped the ball into a wide-open net. Less than a minute later, following another steal, Chase Robinson increased the lead to 3-0.
Garcia-Tapia kept the Wildcats’ deficit at three a few minutes into the second half with a save on Robinson, and Howard got on the board in the 50th. Jesus Vasquez was fouled near the top of the 18-yard box, and his penalty shot snuck inside the left post to make it 3-1.
Christof was the beneficiary of a Howard mistake in the 54th. A Wildcats defender attempted to pass the ball to his keeper, but it rolled loose, and Christof was there to knock it home.
The Vikings added four goals in the final 10 minutes to reach the final margin. Robinson sent a shot from about 22 yards out just over the arms of Garcia-Tapia and under the crossbar. Zach Justison, Hockenbrock and Zell Johnson also found the back of the net.
St. Elizabeth had a 21-5 advantage in shots and 7-3 in corner kicks. Gant made four saves. The Vikings (1-11) visit a tough Delcastle squad on Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.
Garcia-Tapia finished with 12 saves. The Wildcats fell to 0-7 and return to the 76ers Fieldhouse on Monday for a 3:30 p.m. matinee against Dickinson.