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League Championship on the line Thursday for FHHS Boys Soccer;
Mario scores five as FHHS tops SC 6-0

by Ian Byington, San Juan Update

Playing their fourth game in six days didn't slow up the second-ranked Wolverine soccer team, as they upended visiting Shoreline Christian 8-0 Tuesday night. Mario Nunez (left) got a hat trick and more, scoring five of the goals in the lopsided match.

The win sends the boys to fourth-ranked Mount Vernon Christian (9-2, 6-1 in league) on Thursday to cast their vote for which team will end the season as league champs. The Hurricanes' sole league loss was a 4-1 setback in early October; a win by Friday Harbor (10-0-1, 7-0 in league) puts the Wolverines in the driver's seat for the last week of the season.

Nunez came out firing in Tuesday's game with Shoreline Christian (3-8), notching two in the first half, and three to settle things in the second half. He received help from all directions: Louis Paul dropped a 35 yard throwin at his feet, Eric Rothlisberger split two defenders with a pass to him in the penalty area, Felipe Lopez gave him a pinpoint corner kick to head in, and he earned the others on his own, winning the ball in front of the goal and putting it away. Cameron Byington one-touched a Rothlisberger pass to the low far post for the final score of the night.

"Now we're ready for Mount Vernon Christian," head coach Ron Duke said after the smoke had cleared. "Up front, we're passing well. The defense is starting to jell and come together. Mount Vernon has those two strong forwards we'll have to contain, but we'll be ready for them."

With its fifth straight shutout, the Wolverine defense has only allowed one goal in the past month, and center defender Daniel Jones likes his team's chances on Thursday. "It's working - we're backing each other up and rotating the defense the way we like. Each game our intensity goes up, and I think maybe we're starting to peak."

Thursday's game is set for 3:30pm at Mount Vernon Christian High School.

Senior striker Felipe Lopez (11) works the ball through the Shoreline Christian defense in the first half. Last year's league most valuable player has been a key part of FHHS' success this year, as the Wolverines have outscored opponents 23-0 in its past five games, and have scored 44 goals this season.