Eau Claire Memorial prevailed in round two of the city boys soccer derby less than 24 hours after learning there will be a round three.
Luke Rosenberger and Evan Smith each scored twice as the Old Abes flexed their offensive muscles in a 7-0 home victory against rival Eau Claire North on Monday.
With the win, the Abes can clinch at least a share of the Big Rivers title by besting Menomonie on Tuesday and can earn an outright championship with an additional win against Rice Lake on Thursday.
And looming in the distance is a playoff-opening rematch with North, set for Oct. 22, thanks to Memorial earning the No. 1 seed in its regional.
“Tonight really wasn’t about the score line,” Memorial coach David Kite said. “Tonight was about the process. We played the right way. … We want to go into the playoffs playing our best ball, and I think we’re not far away.”
Rosenberger got the scoring started for Memorial in the 10th minute. He was able to take advantage of an aggressive move from North keeper Ayden White, tapping the ball through the Husky keeper’s legs after White tried cutting down the angle. Rosenberger kept with the ball, kicking it into the net on a tough angle from his left foot.
Smith doubled the lead before the break by tapping in a cross from a fellow substitute, Mason Sherman, in the 33rd minute.
The second half brought a serious second wind for the Abes.
Memorial had a goal called back in the 46th minute on an offside but didn’t take long to get that tally back. Three minutes later Will Hartman found Will Whitis with a cross in the box and the sophomore forward got off a booming shot into the net.
Rosenberger scored his second goal three minutes later when he got a foot on a Garrett Woodford cross and bounced the ball into the net.
“We came out in the second half with a purpose,” Kite said. “I was really happy to see us get rewarded by those goals.”
Jacob Peloquin tapped a ball through traffic in the box for the fifth goal, Smith scored off a pass from Joey Moua for the sixth and Logan Junker rounded out the offensive showing when he capitalized on a penalty kick following a hand ball in the box.
“We were clicking,” Smith said.
The end result was tilted further toward the home squad than last week’s 4-1 Memorial victory despite North getting a bit more possession early on than it did in the first meeting.
“We were able to race the defense down quicker and get behind, get some better shots on goal,” Rosenberger said.
The winner of the next intracity matchup, which also will be played at Memorial, will face the winner of No. 4 Stevens Point and No. 5 DC Everest on Oct. 26. Also making an appearance in the Memorial/North regional is seventh-seeded Chippewa Falls, which will head to second-seeded Hudson.
Eau Claire Memorial 7, Eau Claire North 0
North 0 0 — 0
Memorial 2 5 — 7
Goals: 1, ECM, Luke Rosenberger (Lui Shi Xiong), 10th minute; 2, ECM, Evan Smith (Mason Sherman), 33rd minute; 3, ECM, Will Whitis (Will Hartman), 49th minute; 4, ECM, Rosenberger (Garrett Woodford), 52nd minute; 5, Jacob Peloquin (Rosenberger), 57th minute; 6, ECM, Smith (Joey Moua), 81st minute; 7, ECM, Logan Junker (PK), 87th minute. Shots: North 0, Memorial 19. Records: Eau Claire North 3-16-2, 1-9-1; Eau Claire Memorial 13-1-3, 9-0-1.