BOWLING GREEN — Shawnee’s offense came out full throttle and never let up.
And now the Indians are one win away from a return trip to state.
Shawnee steamrolled Sandusky Perkins 8-0 in the Division II boys soccer regional semifinals Wednesday night at Bowling Green High School.
Shawnee (20-1) advances to the regional finals Saturday against Lexington at 11 a.m. Saturday in Marion.
Shawnee reached the state semifinals last year before falling to Warren Howland, 3-0.
“This is what we’ve been working for all season,” Austin Miller said of being one game away from the state tourney. “Ever since that first practice, it was, ‘We want to get back.’ And it’s Lexington again for the third year in a row (at regionals).’’
Sandusky Perkins ends its year 16-4-1.
“We work on coming on strong at tournament time,” Shawnee coach Ryan Quatman said. “We had a lot of good plays.’’
Shawnee glided across the turf like it was its home field, although the Indians play on grass at Shawnee.
“They’re having fun,” Quatman said. “And the turf is a faster game and it requires you to think a little quicker and you can run a little harder on it. I think the guys like the change of pace a little bit.’’
For Shawnee, Sam Tenwalde had a three-goal hat trick. Miller had two goals and two assists.
“It feels amazing,” Tenwalde said of his second hat trick this year. “It would be huge for the school to get back (to state).’’
Scoring one goal for Shawnee were Collin Scheid, Luca Fusillo and Hunter Drury.
The Indians pounded the Perkins net all night and outshot Perkins 24-3.
Perkins goalkeeper Noah Normington-Slay had 10 saves. Shawnee goalkeeper Jack Tenwalde had three saves for the shutout.
The Indians led early and held a 4-0 lead at the half.
Shawnee controlled the majority of the first half with its strong midfield play and crisp passing game.
Shawnee scored first off a throw-in by Connor Neidermire. He threw a strike into the heart of the box, it bounced off a defender, popped in the air and Miller headed it into the net.
That gave Shawnee a 1-0 lead with 31:57 left in the first half.
“Connor has a nice arm and he can get it in,” Miller said. “We kind of play it like a corner.’’
The first half continued to be played in the Perkins’ defensive end.
Shawnee broke loose with a breakaway with Luca Fusillo giving Miller a short feed just outside the 18-yard box.
“Luca saw me running and it was a good pass by Luca,” Miller said.
Perkins goalkeeper Normington-Slay tried to anticipate who would shoot and fell sliding to the turf. Miller pounded in an 18-yard shot from the top of the box into a near-empty net.
That gave Shawnee a 2-0 lead with 27:25 left in the first half.
The next Shawnee breakaway chance came via a pass from the Indians midfielder Matteo Fusillo.
This time it led Tenwalde, who dribbled away on a breakaway and chipped in a 14-yard shot into the upper-half of the net.
That goal gave Shawnee a 3-0 lead with 25:40 left in the first half.
With 3:30 left in the first half, Miller dribbled deep inside the right side of the box. He then slipped a pass to Tenwalde, who rammed home a goal from 10-yards out down the middle.
That pushed the Indians lead to 4-0.
The Indians outshot Perkins in the first half, 10-1.
Defensively, Shawnee’s three in the back of Scheid, Caleb Miller and center defender Jake Fraser turned everything away and got the ball moving quickly into the offensive end.
Tenwalde registered his hat trick with 37:12 to go off a free kick by Alex McGuire. Miller’s first shot off the free kick hit the left goal post and Tenwalde was there to hit a rocket shot rebound past the goalie.
That ballooned the Shawnee lead to 5-0.
Scheid scored off a free kick from the top of the 18 to make it 6-0 with 33 minutes to go.
Frustration set in for Perkins, as it was called for two red cards and one yellow in the final 33 minutes.
Perkins played the final three minutes with eight in the field and a goalkeeper.
“Yes, I think they (the cards) were warranted,” Quatman said. “I think the referees did a good job of keeping the game under control. They (Perkins) were frustrated.’’
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 and The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.