It took a half, but the Helias Crusaders got to celebrate their soccer homecoming.
"It's nice to get a real home game," Helias coach Jay Hebenheimer said after the Crusaders scored five goals in the second half to pull away for a 6-1 victory Thursday night against the Mexico Bulldogs at the Crusader Athlete Complex.
"I thought they boys felt the energy, it just took until the second half."
The process of laying new turf on Helias' soccer field had the Crusaders playing and practicing at Ray Hentges Stadium for the first half of the season. But with that process completed in the past few days, Helias returned to its regular home to face Mexico.
The Bulldogs got on the board first when Jordan Mitchell scored on a breakaway midway through the first half.
Helias, which outshot Mexico 11-4 in the first half, evened it up with 5:24 remaining before intermission. Luke Hynes threaded a pass through the legs of a pair of Mexico defenders to a charging Connor Mudd, who lined a shot into the net.
"They played a quality defense against us and were banging the balls out because we weren't playing quality balls through," Hebenheimer said. "But Luke had a really quality pass there."
A new locker room was also part of the renovation project.
"We finally got to use the locker room for a halftime and I got in there and yelled a few choice words at them," Hebenheimer said.
Thus inspired, it took the Crusaders less than two minutes to take the lead for good in the second half. Hynes had a shot go off the crossbar and Sam Thompson was there to put back the rebound to make it 2-1.
Jaccob Schrimpf made it 3-1 about seven minutes later before Hynes got in on the scoring with a penalty kick with 25:54 left.
Two minutes later, Hynes recorded his second goal of the game off an assist by Miles Vollet.
Jonah Lannigan wrapped up the scoring with 11:31 to play to make the final 6-1. Logan Wilson picked up an assist on the play.
"We possessed well, we moved the ball well," Hebenheimer said.
Hebenheimer is looking for the second-half effort to be displayed for the entire 80 minutes.
"It's tentativeness, I don't know why," he said. "It looks like the seniors are a little tentative sometimes because they're concerned about getting too far out of position without knowing what's going on behind them."
Hebenheimer stressed the chemistry of the team is very good off the field, it's a matter of carrying that over between the lines.
"It's better than it was on Day 1, but we still have miles to go," he said. "I think our younger guys aren't quite comfortable yet with our leaders on the field and they play that way.
"They just have to learn to take the instructions they are given and the leaders need to maybe change the way they are giving those instructions."
There's still plenty of time to get that worked out.
"Our season is to help us get ready for the playoffs and hat's what we're all pointing toward," Hebenheimer said.
Mexico is now 4-6-1.
Helias (5-5) is back in action Monday at home against Republic.