The Eagles have the advantage early in the soccer season.

After Washington played Wentzville Liberty three times last season with the Blue Jays winning two of those contests, the Eagles (5-1, 1-0) started off a new season of Gateway Athletic Conference Central play Monday with a shutout win on the road at Washington (2-4, 0-2), 2-0.

This will not be the only time the two teams play each other this season with a league play rematch coming up at Liberty on October 16 and potential meetings in the CYC Tournament and in district play at the end of the year.

“After district assignments were sent out, this early game against Liberty became a focal point for me,” Washington Head Coach Derek Schriewer said. “To achieve our objective of winning (another district championship), we will more than likely have to find a way past Liberty at some point in districts.”

Liberty notched both of the goals in the first half, one by Grant Hennessey and one by Logan Travis.

Liberty goalkeeper Evan Witte and Travis were each credited with an assist.

“It was a very tight game for all 80 minutes, but a two-minute spell around midway of first half gave Liberty a 2-0 lead,” Schriewer said. “(Their) first goal came down our left flank as their wing-mid got to the end-line by two defenders and snuck it by Ottmar (Escalante). Within two minutes, they served a ball into the box and Mike (Andrews) had trouble bringing it down and their striker struck the loose ball into our net. Two lapses in two minutes and both were correctable. That’s what we discussed at half, correcting mistakes. (We) also talked about how this compared to the Ft. Zumwalt South game. Down 2-0 at half versus a good conference team. We showed our youth when we fell apart at 3-1 in that FZS game, so I challenged them to ensure the same didn’t happen again.”

Washington battled through a scoreless second half with the Eagles.

“We proved yet again that we can shutout a top team in St. Louis for a half or more,” Schriewer said. “Despite the loss, our boys believe we can keep progressing to find a way to win the next match against them. (We just need to) turn 78 minutes of shutout into 80 and convert one opportunity in front of goal — that will be the objective.”

Escalante converted 10 save chances for the Blue Jays.

Witte recorded a complete-game shutout.

The Blue Jays continue conference play on the road Tuesday at Ft. Zumwalt North at 7 p.m.