Neuqua Valley freshman Ross hits hat trickNeuqua Valley's Ryan Ross (right) gets scores a goal on Metea Valley goalie Derek Carothers (left) and defender Blake Erwin on Tuesday at Metea Valley High School in Aurora. Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 13, 2011 10:05PM
Seventy-five percent of Ryan Ross’ goals this season were scored Tuesday against rival Metea Valley. The Neuqua Valley boys soccer team freshman, who was moved up to varsity two weeks ago, scored a hat trick, leading the Wildcats to a 3-1 Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division win over the Mustangs in Aurora.
“He brings a lot of energy,” Neuqua Valley coach Tony Kees said of Ross. “He buzzes around and he’s pesky. He finds a way to sneak in behind guys. He had some nice goals tonight. They were all earned because he works hard. He’s garnered a lot of respect from our players. They trust him.”
All three of Ross’ goals were scored in the second half for Neuqua Valley (5-2-2, 2-0). Trailing 1-0 at the break, Ross tied the game with an assist from Brian Benjamin with 26:47 left in the game. Less than two minutes later, he netted another close-range goal that pushed the Wildcats ahead.
The starting forward did it again with less than three minutes remaining, putting his total to four goals in three varsity games this year.
“It’s been fun,” Ross said about being on varsity from the JV team. “At first, (the older players) were iffy, like, ‘What is this freshman kid doing on the team?’ But now they have trust in me, hopefully more after this game.”
The Mustangs scored first on Ryan Solomon’s seventh goal of the season about five minutes into the game.
“We haven’t been scoring in the first half,” Metea Valley coach Josh Robinson said. “Sometimes if you get a goal early it’s almost tougher. We kind of stepped back after that first goal. We were just a little inconsistent today.”
Metea Valley suffered its first loss of the season and is now 4-1-2 overall, 0-1 in conference play.
“It’s a rivalry, and the game is big to them,” Robinson said. “It’s conference, so we want to do well. We did some really nice things...in the grand scheme of things, it’s only a quarter of the way (through the season). We still have a long way to go. Hopefully, they will bounce back.”