By TRENT SCOTT
For the Banner Graphic
North Putnam's boys' soccer team was stung early by a corner from Tri-West that flew into the net without a touch on the ball.
That would be enough for the Bruins to claim a win, but before they added more goals in the second half to run out as 6-0 winners Tuesday night.
Josh McGrath's corner three minutes into the contest befuddled everyone, including North Putnam goalkeeper Bailey Allen as it sailed into the net to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
Tri-West was dominant in possession for large stretches of the first half, though Nick Kaufman had a chance to level the scores seven minutes later. But saw his header from a corner go wide.
Bruin forward Jake England saw a blast from inside the 18-yard box crash off the crossbar and off the line halfway through the first period while Kyle Kirby hit a shot straight at Allen ten minutes before the break.
It would not take long for the visitors to add to their tally in the second half as Allen misjudged an Aaron Sorgius free kick from the halfway line, fumbling the ball into the path of Kirby who swept home from close range.
Sam Koelling was denied by Allen a minute later but Kirby added a second goal a minute after that when his long distance shot squirmed under a diving Allen to hand the Bruins a 3-0 lead.
Braden Jones added a goal near the halfway point of the second half with a shot from 35 yards out that Allen was blind to.
Koelling got on the scoresheet himself with 16 minutes left to go when he arrowed a 25-yard free kick into the top corner to make the score 5-0.
Quentin Garland would add the finishing touch for Tri-West with a header from a Nick Carlson cross three minutes from time.
North Putnam had few opportunities to attack in the second half, though Taylor Zaring and Ryan Raupp both had free kicks saved by Jake Gimbel.
Gimbel also made a save from Bennett Hazelgrove while Allen kept the score at 6-0 when he turned away a fierce Thomas Tintera drive from distance.
North Putnam head coach Willie Gaskins said afterwards that the squad, even though they went down early, didn't let the goal get them down.
"I thought we played pretty well after we gave up that goal. We had two or three good opportunities to score in the first half," Gaskins said.
"It was an unlucky goal to give up. You don't see too many goals go in straight from a corner. It was weird to see."
"We played well after that. In other games we might have gotten our heads down but we didn't do that today," Gaskins added.
After the early barrage from Tri-West in the second half, however, Gaskins admitted the team fell off the pace.
"I thought we came out flat in the second half. Tri-West came out and got their second goal after it went through the goalie's hands," Gaskins said.
"After the first couple of goals went in, we got our heads down and let in some easy goals. We didn't really make them work very hard for them."
North Putnam will have a quick turnaround and prepare for a major WCC clash as the Cougars travel south to take on Greencastle Thursday.
Gaskins said the squad would be looking to avenge last season's 11-0 drubbing.
"I think we're going to be focused for Thursday. After the game last year, I think we'll definitely be ready to play," Gaskins said.
"It's a conference game and a big rivalry game. I definitely expect us to be ready and come out to play on Thursday."
At North Putnam
North Putnam 0
36:58 -- McGrath
34:68 -- Kirby
32:05 -- Kirby
22:20 -- Jones
16:00 -- Koelling
3:16 -- Garland
16:44 -- Yellow Card (Hendershot -- NP)
1:21 -- Yellow Card (Jones -- TW)
11:37 -- Yellow Card (Moser -- TW)