Zephyrhills Free Press

Bulldogs give Hudson the boot

Jaxson Rivera scores five goals in 8-0 win

By Dave Walters

Jaxson Rivera’s five-goal performance Friday night led the Zephyrhills Boys’ Soccer team to an 8-0 mercy rule victory over visiting Hudson.

The mercy-rule victory was the first in head coach John Soelner’s four years at the helm of the Bulldogs’ boys’ soccer program. The win was a turnaround for the Bulldogs, who escaped Hudson earlier in the season with a 2-0 win

“We knew we had the upper hand coming into the game,” Soelner said. “Jaxson was huge in this win. The first time we played Hudson, Jaxson was still playing football. He is one of the real finishers we have.

Alex Nesbitt had two goals and three assists and William Poe added a goal for the Bulldogs. Zephyrhills improved to 4-10 on the season.

“I’m happy for them,” Soelner said. “They needed this. You can see it. They are so excited. They worked so hard for this. We’re clearly in a spot where we’re better than some teams and clearly not as good as others. Our focus is to get up to those next teams.  

For Rivera, it was a career-best game for him that helped give his teammates a whitewash victory.

“We needed it pretty bad,” Rivera said. “We were all down because we weren’t winning like we want to. We didn’t come out thinking we were going to get the mercy rule. We came out thinking we were going to play a hard game.”

With an unfamiliar 5-0 lead at halftime, Soelner wanted to use the second half of the game to get his team better with five games remaining before the district tournament.

“What I told them at halftime is that we aren’t used to being this much better than another team,” Soelner said. “Let’s get better and use this half as a practice.”

Zephyrhills is back in action Wednesday when they host Brooksville Central at 7 p.m.

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