Maryville head boys soccer coach Stuart Collins has long maintained that his team's perform better when having to go against the wind rather than with it.
Monday's home match with Benton offered additional support to that claim.
Playing with the wind at their face in the second half, the Hounds surpassed their first half scoring output in the first 16 minutes with three goals and shut out Benton to turn a tie match at halftime into an easy 5-2 win at Donaldson Park.
The Hounds improved to 6-9-0 and turned the tables from a three-goal loss to Benton (2-8) earlier in the year.
"It's just a matter of when the wind is blowing 15-20 miles per hour at your back, it's just hard to keep the ball on the playing surface," said Collins. "When it's in your face, the ball stays at your feet. You saw the guys how many chances we had with the ball on the inside and feeding it out, going right to the goal. You can't do that when the wind is blowing the ball away from you."
After a pair of first half goals by Zach Miller, senior forward Lane Hermelink scored Maryville's first two second half goals within 50 seconds of each other in the 46th and 47th minutes.
The go-ahead goal came on a penalty kick after being tripped up inside the box. Hermelink went top shelf with the PK attempt and squeezed the ball just below the cross bar into the back of the net.
Hermelink got behind the Benton defense for another one-on-one opportunity right afterwards and converted to put the Hounds up 4-2.
Mitchell Worthington picked up the assist.
"That was a case of Mitchell, Zach Miller, Michael Filips and Andrew Wiederholt looking for him on the outside," said Collins. "Lane does a great job of looking for where he was open. It was outside and they fed him the ball right over the top. The ball hung up in the air and that allowed him to run under it."
Worthington completed a run of four straight goals with a second-effort conversion from in close during the 56th minute, giving him three points for the match.
The assist went to Wiederholt who fed a pass inside the goalie box creating a scrum for the ball that Worthington finished off.
Benton never really threatened again and went the final 54 minutes of the match without a goal after scoring twice within a 1:11 span in the first half to take a 2-1 lead.
"It was a well-played 40 minutes in the second half," said Collins. "I'm just happy we switched sides."
The Hounds were far more efficient with their opportunities in the second half, converting three of six shots after missing on 12 of 14 in the first half.
Page 2 of 2 - Despite a 14-4 first half advantage in shots, the Hounds went to the half tied with Benton at 2. It brought back memories of the earlier match with Benton in which the Hounds out-shot Benton 37-7 but lost 3-0.
"It was exactly like that," said Collins.
After missing three quality chances early, Maryville went up 1-0 with Miller's first goal in the 10th minute.
Situated in the middle of the box, Miller was able to deflect a pass from Danner Jacobsen into the side of the net.
Over the next 10 minutes, the Hounds came up empty on several attempts to add to their lead.
They paid for it in the 25th minute when Benton's Brady Adams got free for a break-away opportunity and lobbed a shot over Hound keeper Ethan Calfee to tie it at 1.
Energized by getting it tied, Benton took the lead a minute later on a goal from Austin Genereaux that was set up by speedy midfielder Javier Tobar.
It was Tobar's only point of the match after recording a hat trick against the Hounds earlier this year.
"I just told them whenever you've got a guy with really good foot skills one guy has to contain him and I thought Michael did a great job in the first half of that," said Collins. "Then somebody else has got to come up and support and strip the ball away if possible or put pressure to get the ball off his feet. In the second half, we did a really good job of that. I'm happy with the guys on that defense."
Benton's 2-1 lead stood until the 35th minute when a defensive breakdown allowed Miller a wide open look from the right side of the net. He fired the ball to the left side past Benton keeper Skylar Smith to tie it at 2.
This score held until Hermelink's first goal 5:30 into the second half.
"It was probably good for the boys," said Collins of getting the match tied. "In the second half, we worked easier and we didn't feel like we were chasing. In that regard, it was good."
Maryville plays three of its next four matches away from home, beginning Thursday at Cameron.
The Hounds beat Cameron 5-1 earlier this year at the Barstow Tournament.