Perseverance paid off for Jacob Dick Wednesday afternoon.
The talented Peru senior spent a good part of the second half bobbing and weaving through the Northeastern Clinton defense, creating great scoring chances for himself only not to be rewarded.
But with 18:03 gone in the second half, Dick finally found the back of the net to give the Indians the lead for good in a 5-2 victory in Northern Soccer League play.
“It took a while for me,” Dick said. “I felt pretty good with the way I was playing if I continued to work hard. I was getting frustrated a little, but knew it would come.”
“Jacob worked hard in the offseason,” Peru coach Matt Armstrong said. “He puts a lot of pressure on himself.”
It was a high-scoring game where neither goalkeeper — Peru’s Michael Dupre, who made 11 saves and Northeastern Clinton’s Brady Vassar, who finished with 13 stops — could be faulted on any of the goals.
“If we play the game the way we do in practice, we’re capable of scoring five goals in a game,” Armstrong said. “We can do it if we focus for 80 minutes and we were able to do so (Wednesday).”
Ian Spear got Peru (7-4-1, 5-4) off and running. The senior standout opened the scoring on a penalty kick just 1:27 into the game and then made it 2-0 with a shot from the top of the box at the 31:57 mark.
But back came the Cougars (6-3-3, 4-3-2). Austin Tetreault cut Northeastern Clinton’s deficit in half with 2:45 remaining in the first half when he got behind the Peru defense and then pulled his team into a 2-all tie at 3:41 of the second half on a header.
Theo Sisson assisted on Tetreault’s first goal and Ryan Marks on the second.
“Tetreault is an excellent player who always gives us problems,” Armstrong said. “He is always in the right place and you don’t want to leave him open.”
It stayed tied for the next 15 minutes before Dick tallied his game-winning goal. He worked his way though the Northeastern Clinton defense once again before driving the ball into the net.
He wasn’t done, however.
Dick continued to create opportunities and picked up assists on the final two Peru goals when Peter Daly made it 4-2 at the 25:22 mark and Jonathan Plessis-Belair, who assisted on Spear’s second goal, closed out the scoring at 35:45.
Russell LaFave also picked up an assist for the Indians.
“I feel better about the team,” Armstrong said. “We finally had everyone available for the game (Wednesday) and we’re trying to establish a team chemistry. We’re starting to gel together and we want to keep building.
“We’re already the (Section VII) Class A champions, but I want us to keep it simple and take one game at a time. We’ll worry about the playoffs when they come, even though we will have a long layoff before playing.”
“We’re getting better as a team,” Dick said. “We’re getting better all the time.”
Peru 5, Northeastern Clinton 2
Northeastern Clinton 1 1 — 2
Peru 2 3 — 5
First half- 1, P, Spear pk, 1:27. 2, P, Spear (Plessis-Belair), 31:57. 3, NCCS, Tetreault (Sisson), 37:15.
Second half- 4, NCCS, Tetreault (Marks), 3:41. 5, P, Dick (LaFave), 18:03. 6, P, Daly (Dick), 25:22. 7, P, Plessis-Belair (Dick), 35:45.
Shots: Peru 22, NCCS 15.
Saves: Dupre, P, 11. Vassar, NCCS, 13.