It was a return to form for Gary Watt's St. Clairsville soccer team Tuesday afternoon.
On the heels of a 2-1 Monday road setback at Magnolia, the Red Devils responded with a 5-0 shutout over Wheeling Central at the St. C. Junior Sports Complex.
Watt watched his club take early command and rarely let up in improving to 6-3-1 overall. The loss was the eighth compared to one victory and a tie for coach Brian DiCola's young Maroon Knights.
Vs. Wheeling Central
"I thought we came out unfocused (Monday) at Magnolia," Watt related. "Obviously, that wasn't the case (tonight). I think the kids realize they need to bring their best effort to every match."
The Red Devils did so Tuesday and were dominant throughout. "We controlled the middle part of the field and that's where the game is won or lost," Watt added.
"I thought we were the aggressors from the beginning both from an offensive and defensive standpoint."
A pair of freshmen, Josh Pawloski, of Wheeling Central, and Taylor Wissman (22), of St. Clairsville, battle for possession during Tuesday’s match at the St. C. Junior Sports Complex. The Red Devils improved to 6-3-1 following a 5-0 decision. Additional images can be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Those sentiments are reflected by final numbers which revealed Central managed but three shots on St. C. senior goalkeeper Tien Tran.
On the contrary, Watt's booters assaulted Knights' goalie Anthony Tighe with 19 shots, five of which found the back of the net.
"We're still a work-in-progress," DiCola said afterwards. "Of my 11 starters, five or six are playing with little or no experience. Tonight, we just were unable to finish what few scoring chances we had."
St. C. senior Dallas Young opened Tuesday's scoring, converting a penalty kick just over 10 minutes into the opening half.
At the 21-minute mark senior Matt Yudasz connected off an assist from Nickolas Sherman.
St. C. had time for one more tally prior to the intermission when junior Scott Dutton converted in close. Senior Ethan Kozel set up Dutton's goal.
Midway through the second half, Young struck again, this time unassisted and it was a 4-0 issue.
Junior Luke Morrison completed the scoring with 14:10 remaining, taking a pass from sophomore Jimmy Cash.
St. C.'s point distribution was noted by the Devils' coach. "One of our strengths is the fact we have multiple scorers," Watt advised. "On a given day, any number of our kids are capable."
The Red Devils will now await seeding for next week's OVAC quarterfinals.
St. Clairsville 5,
Wheeling Central 0
WC - Goalkeeper: Tighe (19 shots, 14 saves).
STC - Goals: D. Young (2); Yudasz, Dutton, Morrison. Assists by: Sherman, Kozel, Cash. Goalkeeper: Tien (3 shots, 3 saves).