By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Senior forward Nathanael Rich is expected to be a go-to goal scorer for the Concord boys soccer team in 2013.
Rich seems to be embracing that role nicely so far. On Saturday at home against Wawasee, Rich collected a hat trick-plus-one, scoring four goals as the Minutemen routed Wawasee, 10-0 in the NLC opener for both squads.
The Minutemen (2-0, 1-0 NLC) came out aggressively from the opening whistle and had four goals in the opening eight minutes to set the tone for the contest.
Most of the match was played in the Wawasee zone: The Minutemen amassed 16 total shots (14 on goal), while Wawasee had just four shots (three on goal).
Rich said his offensive outburst on Saturday was mainly a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
“My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball out there today.” Rich said. “When they do that, all I have to do it poke it in.”
Rich said he’s more than ready to be the Minutemen’s marked man.
“If the coaches are going to put me out there, I’ll be the guy,” Rich said.
Concord coach Shawn McCuen’s system stresses two-touch passes and a patient search for long balls, and the Minutemen did a pretty good job executing their coach’s wishes on Saturday.
“I tell the guys constantly that the results we get are going to depend on the effort we put out,” McCuen said. “I liked our aggressiveness at the start.
McCuen was less pleased with what he saw as a letdown toward the end of the first half. “We’ve got to keep up the intensity for 80 minutes,” McCuen said.
Concord led 6-0 at intermission.
In addition to Rich’s four scores, the Minutemen got one from his younger brother, Ben Rich; two goals from Julio Solano, and single scores from Christhian De La Paz and Fernando Cervantes,
For new Wawasee coach Jordan Sharp — a former Warsaw High School star — Saturday’s loss was an object lesson for his team in a number of areas.
“That’s who we want to be,” Sharp said, referring to the Minutemen. “That’s an elite program, and that’s where I want to get our program.”
On Saturday, Sharp said his team did not play with enough confidence — especially after getting down 4-0 early.
“This was a learning experience for our team,” Sharp said. “You can’t play scared and expect to win.”
The Minutemen host Elkhart Memorial on Tuesday, while Wawasee entertains Hamilton on Monday.