MT. PLEASANT — It was all Mt. Pleasant from start to finish on Monday at East Lake. The Panther boys creamed the Demons 7-0 in their fourth Southeast Conference match of the season to stay at the top of the SEC.
A little good luck in the first few minutes put the Panthers up early. Mt. Pleasant’s Cade Warner sent a corner kick toward the net early in the fourth minute and a clearing attempt by the Demon defense was shanked into their own net. That gave the Panthers an early 1-0 lead.
The Panthers continued to put together chances throughout the first half, and that created a chance for the Demons to tie the game with 17 minutes left in the first half. A Panther turnover led to a two-man rush from Zac Stout and Fabian DeJesus, but an offsides call squandered the chance.
“I was getting a little worried there toward the end of the first half,” said Panther head coach Neil Schmitz. “With the wind and only a 1-0 advantage, I was kind of (thinking) we should put a few more in.”
Mt. Pleasant was finally able to put one on the board for themselves with 10:19 remaining in the first half. Nathan Rauenbuehler scored on a penalty kick, kissing the shot off the right post.
Seven minutes later, Rauenbuehler struck again. He sent a deep shot into the left side of the net with 3:03 remaining, giving Mt. Pleasant a 3-0 advantage going into halftime.
The Panthers were able to keep the pressure on in the second half but didn’t score until the final 14 minutes. Noel Lopez made it 4-0 on a direct kick just outside the box.
The Panthers scored three more before it was all said and done. Jadyn Vongsavath scored off a Rauenbuehler cross with 8:37 left. Lopez tapped one in off a feed from Logan White in the final five minutes, and Tyler Craig scored off a Washington turnover with just 17 seconds left.
“We’re battling a lot of injuries,” said Washington head coach Sally Hart. “Hopefully as the season progresses, and we get into the second part of the season, things start to turn around.”
Mt. Pleasant is now 7-3 overall and 3-1 in conference play. They’ll host Fairfield in a huge game on Thursday, April 23, where the winner will take control of the conference race.
Washington fell to 2-6 on the year after losing their fourth-straight game. The Demons are 1-3 in conference play. They’ll take on Columbus in a non-conference road game on Monday, April 29.