SEMIFINALS: Southwestern’s Coleman Jackson (above) splits three Shawe defenders while getting off a shot in the Rebels’ 4-2 sectional semifinal win over Shawe Friday in Vevay. Southwestern’s Cam Rogers (below) lets out a jubilant yell after scoring just 13 seconds into the second half. (Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
SEMIFINALS: Southwestern’s Coleman Jackson (above) splits three Shawe defenders while getting off a shot in the Rebels’ 4-2 sectional semifinal win over Shawe Friday in Vevay. Southwestern’s Cam Rogers (below) lets out a jubilant yell after scoring just 13 seconds into the second half. (Staff photos by Mark Campbell)
Southwestern dominated Shawe in the first half and then outscored the Hilltoppers 3-2 after halftime to win Friday's Class A Sectional 58 boys soccer matchup 4-2 in Vevay and advance to tonight's championship.

The Rebels scored just under 13 minutes into the game and then hammered away at defending champion Shawe the rest of the first half to no avail to take a 1-0 lead into halftime.

But just when it looked like the upstart Hilltoppers - Shawe was the least experienced team in the sectional after graduating 14 seniors from last year's 18-2 team - were going to defensively push the Rebels to the end, Southwestern struck for three more goals in the second 40 minutes to turn the game into a rout before Shawe got two late goals by junior Jack Heitz for the final 4-2 margin.

"They're a good team. They're pretty quick ... they are athletic and quick," Shawe first year head coach Jason Pattison said of the Rebels. "We played better in the second half despite what the score says. We didn't play well in the first half but we played better in the second half and scored a couple of goals late to make it competitive so I'm proud of my team. I'm proud of my team and they improved all year."

Southwestern out-shot Shawe 9-4 in the first half but the only ball that found net for either team was Coleman Jackson's cross from the left side to the right rear corner of the goal with 27:43 left in the first half - a lead the Rebels were still clinging to at halftime.

As a result, Southwestern coach Dave Bramer sent his team away from the break with one mission: Get a second goal on the scrappy Hilltoppers and get it quick.

And that's exactly what what junior forward Cam Rogers did just 13 seconds into the second half when he stole the ball, dribbled clear of the defense and then launched a looping shot toward Shawe goalkeeper Jesse Fitton that cleared Fritton's outstretched arms and found the net for a 2-0 lead.

"I just told them 'Let's get one quickly.'" Bramer recalled. "I said 'The sun's in his eyes. Let's take advantage of it.' When we came out there the goalie was shading his eyes. It's hard to see out there so I was happy they took that end of the field."

"In practice we talk about taking long shots when they are there and (Bramer) wanted to get up early so I was just hustling," Rogers said. "I stole the ball and I realized I didn't have anyone in front of me, so I just took it.

"I knew I had an opening and the sun was in his eyes so I just took the shot," Rogers added. " I would have taken it if the sun hadn't been in his eyes, but I don't know if it would have gone in."

It was a crushing blow to Shawe and one made even more devastating to Pattison by the fact that he had instructed his team to avoid that goal in the event Shawe controlled that decision after the pre-game coin toss.

"It was relatively irritating because I had told my guys if we won the toss we didn't want that end in the second half. And we won the toss!" Pattison said. "For whatever reason, they chose the other goal. It's a high ball, it's a long ball, it's right up there in the sun and he hit it on goal. It was a good shot."

"That is a very big goal in a 1-0 game," Bramer noted. "It kind of takes the air out of it for Shawe and we kind of kept the pressure up and got another couple of good looks."

In fact, Southwestern out-shot Shawe 14-7 in the second half while also setting up for five corner kicks. That onslaught eventually paid off in two very quick goals by freshman forward Edi Tovar.

Tovar's first goal came when he redirected a rebound shot into the net with 29:52 left in the second half. He then scored on a breakaway just two minutes later and the Rebels held a commanding 4-0 lead.

"I think they had a lot of momentum coming into the second half because they were only down by one, but my goal right at the start cut it off and then we just kept building on to that and Tovar put the nail in the coffin," Rogers said.

"I saw the open space and capitalized," Tovar added.

Although Southwestern did not score again, the Rebels did not rest on the 4-0 cushion. Bramer said his team is most comfortable when it is attacking so while he go to his bench the game plan remained the same

"We are such an attacking team that we're not one to sit back," Bramer said. "When we sit back it's like trying to play the prevent defense. It doesn't always work."

The only scoring the rest of the way was by Shawe's Heitz - the first with 2:17 left in the game and the second with 29.8 seconds left for the final 4-2 margin.

According to Pattison, it was a nice way to end the game and the season and something the Hilltoppers can build on for the future - especially if Shawe can get Heitz more involved in games next season.

"Sometimes he doesn't realize he's a marked man but we've done a lot better job the last two or three weeks in practice and if we can pick up there next year we'll be a lot better," Pattison said of Heitz.

"We've got to get him the ball in better positions," Pattison added. "He tends to hang out in the middle of the field in the middle of the defense and we need to get him in better positions. He receives the ball with two or three defenders around him and his back to the goal so we need to do a better job of putting him in a position where he can get the ball and do some damage. He did that at the end."

Wether that would have made a difference Friday night remains to be seen because make no mistake, Southwestern was the aggressor and the Rebels would have scored even more without several nice stops by Fitton, the Shawe keeper.

"We had a really good week of practice and it paid off tonight. We really got after the ball," Bramer said. "We had a lot of good talk and that's one thing we've worked with them on all year.

"We're playing pretty well. We had a letdown against Jac-Cen-Del a couple of weeks ago but if I ever get it figured out I'm going to write a book," Bramer smiled.

Pattison said he's happy with the maturation of his team after inherting a group that saw little playing time behind the 14 seniors the Hilltoppers graduated last year.

"I said at the beginning of the year if we were about .500 I'd be thrilled and we ended up 6-8-1 and we had a winning conference record and finished in the middle of the conference which is where we should have been," Pattison said. "I'm proud of our kids."

Southwestern, now 11-3-3, will try to continue it's sectional roll tonight against the Shiners, who the Rebels beat 5-1 in their regular season finale last Friday in Hanover.

The Shiners were 4-0 winners over host Switzerland County in Friday's second semifinal - a game that was scoreless at halftime before Rising Sun got two goals by Jake Uhlmansiek and a goal each by Zack Martini and Bryant Housemyer in the second half to advance to tonight's championship.

The sectional title game will be a 6 p.m. in Vevay.