Westmont’s boys soccer team stopped almost every offensive attack this season, but Richland’s Troy Lees was one striker that haunted the Hilltoppers.

The junior scored three goals and added an assist as the Rams defeated the Hilltoppers 4-1 on Tuesday and advanced to the District 6 championship game.

The Rams lost to Westmont in their final regular season game to split the series, but Lees did not lose any confidence in his team.

“After that loss, we knew only the playoffs mattered,” said Lees. “We expected to win this game.”

Two minutes before halftime, Lees crashed the net and headed the ball past Westmont keeper Kevin Merchant to break a scoreless tie.

Joe Asel silenced the raucous Richland crowd with a goal 6 minutes into the second half to even the score, but Lees recharged the Richland faithful.

Tyler Morder sent a long pass downfield to Lees, who outraced the Hilltopper defense and blasted the ball by Merchant to regain the lead.

“The ball was just coming right to me,” said Lees. “I just got beautiful assists by everyone. It was unbelievable.”

Lees’ third score epitomized the Rams night, as execution and hustle were the keys to victory.

Robbie Callis-Keiser sent a perfect cross pass through a maze of Westmont defenders. Lees snuck behind the defense and just beat Merchant to the ball, booting in his third goal of the night.

Morder tallied the final goal as the Richland fans stormed the field to celebrate the victory and an opportunity to defend their title.

“We’re going for the repeat,” said Richland goalie Joey Devett. “All 11 guys played with their hearts and left it all on the field.”

In the two wins over Westmont this season, Lees scored five of the team’s six goals, but said his individual performance is a reflection of the entire team.

“It was a team effort,” said Lees. “We wanted this game really bad.”

Westmont coach Mark Drummey said his team still had a great season, despite the outcome of the game.

“We won our conference and our captains Kevin Merchant and Joe Asel did a remarkable job bringing us to where we are,” said Drummey. “I am really proud of my whole team.”

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