GOOD TIMES: Switzerland County’s Nathan Hunter (above, 25) sprints past Austin goalkeeper Donnie Goodin (diving) en route to a score during the soccer sectional opener Wednesday in Vevay. The play was set up when Richie Lay (right) headed the ball over Goodin to the wide-open Hunter. Lay scored two goals of his own and celebrated wildly after his second (below). The Pacers won the game 4-1. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
GOOD TIMES: Switzerland County’s Nathan Hunter (above, 25) sprints past Austin goalkeeper Donnie Goodin (diving) en route to a score during the soccer sectional opener Wednesday in Vevay. The play was set up when Richie Lay (right) headed the ball over Goodin to the wide-open Hunter. Lay scored two goals of his own and celebrated wildly after his second (below). The Pacers won the game 4-1. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Switzerland County scored three goals in the second half to pull away for a 4-1 win over Austin in the opening round of the Class A Boys Soccer Sectional 58 at Vevay on Wednesday.

The Pacers trailed 1-0 less than 10 minutes into the game when the Eagles connected on a penalty kick but Switzerland tied the score eight minutes later and then dominated the second half to advance to the semifinals on Friday.

"I was impressed with the second half play," Switzerland coach Tony Spoores said. "They passed the ball well in the second half and started to play soccer again. They didn't get down on each other and just played good and worked the ball around to get some scores."

Switzerland (4-10-3) did not get off to a good start. A lack of ball control early allowed Austin to get off two quick shots and the Eagles took the lead in the ninth minute when Cory Needler converted a penalty kick.

But the Pacers slowly took control. Switzerland outshot the Eagles 15-4 in the first half alone - including 9-3 on goal - and those shots paid off when junior Jay Suwannasichon punched a short laser through the scrum in front of the Austin goal for the equalizer in the 18th minute.

"I think there were some nerves. It was the first game of the sectional and I think it showed," Spoores said. "But despite that we still had 15 shots in the first half. We were getting shots but in the second half, we were able to convert them."

The Pacers took 13 more shots in the second half and converted three of them into goals to turn the game into a rout.

Senior Richie Lay scored to put Switzerland ahead with his goal in the 53rd minute on a play that was set up by fellow senior Nathan Hunter. After the Pacers took control of an Austin free kick in their own zone, Hunter sprinted down the left sideline and past the Eagle defense.

Hunter's shot was stopped by Austin goalie Donnie Goodin but the ball bounced away. Ben Curran gathered up the ball in the front of the net and flicked it to Lay a few feet away and Lay slammed the ball home.

Hunter picked up a goal of his own five minutes later thanks to a great play by Lay. Lay intercepted an Austin pass and used a header to beat Goodin as the Eagle keeper came out to challenge the play. Hunter was there to scoop up the ball with the open net making for easy pickings.

Lay scored his second goal of the match with just under 20 minutes to play after taking a pass from Vincent Hernandez.

"Even without coaching, they came in at halftime and they knew they didn't pass the ball well and that they were playing kickball," Spoores said. "They knew what they needed to do and they did a good job of moving the ball around better."

For the game, Switzerland out-shot Austin 28-7, including 18-5 on goal. Goodin stopped 14 shots for the Eagles to draw praise from the Pacer coach.

"My hat's off to them. They're a young team and they played well," Spoores said. "Their keeper has some really good hands and he made some nice saves. Once we were able to move him around a little we were able to have success."

Freshman Justin Green played all 80 minutes in goal for Switzerland and recorded four saves.

The Pacers now advance to the semifinals on Friday where they will face Rising Sun in the second game of an all Ohio River Valley Conference final four. Southwestern and Shawe will meet in the first match. The championship will be Saturday night.

Including a preseason scrimmage, Switzerland County and Rising Sun have met three times this season with the Shiners winning both regular season matches by scores of 4-1 and 7-3. But that familiarity may help the Pacers come Friday night.

"I think every time we learned something else about them," Spoores said of the meetings with Rising Sun. "I'm sure they also learned some about us. They may be the slight favorite, them or Southwestern. They're both really good teams. I'm glad we have good teams in the sectional to play. I'm looking forward to the challenge."