Sean Waterman scored six goals and assisted on three others to lead Mater Dei (3-0) to its third consecutive home win on Thursday, beating Dana Hills (0-2) 16-0. This is the first time the Monarchs began a season 3-0 since 2014, when the team finished 11-7 and made the playoffs.
Last season, Dana Hills defeated Mater Dei 8-7 in overtime, a tough loss for Mater Dei. Head coach Johnny Rodriguez and his squad used that as motivation heading into Thursday’s rematch.
“There is a reason why I want to come out and show as close to perfection as possible,” Rodriguez said. “That was a tough loss for me to swallow last year early on in the season against Dana Hills.”
Mater Dei opened up the floodgates early with eight goals in the first quarter, and there was no looking back. Senior midfielder Nick Sando also had a big game offensively with four goals and one assist.
“I was just trying to do the best I can for my team,” Sando said. “I knew I could beat my one-on-ones most of the time if I had a shorty, so I took advantage of that.”
The Monarchs took a 10-0 lead into the intermission and expanded on the advantage in the third quarter, leading 14-0 heading to the fourth. The final period was marred by three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a player ejection against the Dolphins.
Seven Monarchs scored at least one goal. Brian Liekhus finished with two goals to join Waterman and Santo as multi-goal scorers. Mater Dei also dominated faceoffs, winning 14 of 18.
Mater Dei came into the season banged up with injuries that include the loss of last year’s leading scorer Brady Burwell to a broken foot. Rodriguez couldn’t be more proud of his team for the way they have picked up the slack.
“When (Burwell) went down, our hearts broke,” Rodriguez said. “Our guys have stepped up greatly. I think that this team is so close from the amount of time we spend together … we’re tired of losing. 6-12 is one of the worst seasons in Mater Dei history. We’re going to bounce back this year. I think the culture is set and we have full commitment from our players.”
After a weekend off, the Monarchs will hit the road for the first time this season with a matchup against the Edison Chargers (1-0) on Tuesday. The Chargers are coming off an impressive 18-0 win over Murrieta Valley on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Dana Hills (0-2) will look to get in the win column with a match against Northwood (2-0) on Wednesday.