NORMAL — The Normal West High School soccer team struck with lightning precision to take a commanding halftime lead.
Lightning of the literal variety brought the game to a halt less than five minutes into the second period with West awarded a 6-0 victory over Central Catholic in the opening round of the Intercity Boys Soccer Tournament on Monday at Normal West.
Rain and lightning also shortened Monday's other tournament game, with University High scoring a 1-0 win over host Bloomington.
West vs. Central Catholic
Before the weather took a turn for the worse, West junior Parker Theobald provided plenty of thunder for the Wildcats. Theobald netted a hat trick in the opening 20 minutes before adding another goal in the closing seconds of the first half to give the Wildcats their 6-0 lead.
"They were all great passes from my teammates," said Theobald, who got an assist from Adam Conrad on his first score with 33:17 remaining in the first half. He then received helpers from the Sabu brothers on two other goals.
"We have great chemistry and we're always looking to get behind the defense," said Theobald, who also found the back of the net on a penalty kick.
Delphy Sabu and his brother, Archimed, accounted for the other two West scores.
Eluding two Central defenders, Delphy Sabu scored an unassisted goal 9:35 into the game.
With an assist from Conrad, Archimed Sabu — a freshman — launched a header from nearly 15 yards out that floated into the back of the net for West's fifth score with 11 minutes remaining in opening period.
Central Catholic entered the game with a focus on keeping West scoring sensation Jordan Walker under wraps.
"We came in with the mentality that we were going to stop Walker, as well as Theobald," said Central coach Reza Ghasemi. "But, unfortunately, we came up short. We stopped one, we couldn't stop the other. Kudos to (West) for finding a way to score from the other side."
West coach Val Walker, Jordan Walker's father, said opponents who focus too much on his son do so at their own peril.
"They were man-to-man on Jordan and then they had a sweeper back around him, but when you do that to Jordan you realize that this team has multiple weapons," Val Walker said. "This is not a one horse, pony show. If it's not Jordan, it's Parker, it's Delphy, it's Archimed, any number of people can hurt you on this roster."
West improved to 3-0 and has outscored its opponents 17-0 thus far. After a bye on Wednesday, West will face Bloomington on Thursday.
Central fell to 2-1.
"More than anything, we were so nervous," Ghasemi said. "(Central) historically has lost to (West) and I think, mentally, we got beat before we were on the pitch. We should have competed better. The boys didn't execute well."
U High vs. BHS
The Pioneers and Purple Raiders battled to a 0-0 halftime tie before Nathan Clay scored three minutes into the second half to give U High the win.
"We had a tough game Saturday against Peoria Notre Dame and I thought we were a little bit flat in the first half," said U High coach Jeremy Stanton. "The second half we played pretty well."
Clay got a foot on a pass from Mason Wittman and booted a shot from 20 yards out into the left corner of the net.
The game was called because of lightning with 25 minutes remaining.
The Pioneers improved to 2-1 with the victory over a stout BHS squad.
"Bloomington competed and had some players," said Stanton.
The Raiders fell to 1-2 and will host Central Catholic on Wednesday.