ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Wes Stoner didn't sugarcoat the fact his St. Clairsville girls' soccer team played ''bad'' Tuesday night in a 6-0 road loss to Linsly at Holloway Field.
''We looked confused,'' Stoner said Thursday. ''But we worked really hard in practice (Wednesday) on some of the things we did wrong against them for a couple of hours and it showed (Thursday).''
Did it ever.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Carlee Gillespie (8) heads the ball into the net Thursday night against John marshall at Red Devil Stadium. The Red Devils blanked the Monarchs, 5-0. Additional images can be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Carlee Gillespie and Eberle Ferrell both scored two goals and Madie Fogle added an insurance netter late as the Red Devils bounced back by blanking John Marshall, 5-0, at Red Devil Stadium.
''I told them before the match to just focus on the one thing we worked on in practice and forget everything else for now,'' Stoner, in his first year guiding St. C., said. ''Just try to focus on that and they did it and they did it well, too.''
Since taking over the Red Devils, Stoner has been ''trying to change the culture of play.'' It's been an ongoing process, but early on Thursday, the Red Devils (4-2) made it look easy.
''They get confused every once in a while,'' Stoner said, ''but they played it well in the first half.''
Part of Stoner's new scheme has been the installation of a few new corner and free kicks. Both came into play as St. C. built an early 2-0 lead.
With eight minutes gone by in the first half Ferrell delivered a corner kick from the right side. The ball sailed over the head of JM goalkeeper Asya Carney and above a leaping Gillespie, whose header knocked the ball into the net giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Nearly seven minutes later, Ferrell broke into the scoring column herself. Taryn Barr got the ball into the middle of the field to her about 15-20 yards from the net. Ferrell jumped up, headed the ball and powered it past Carney.
''That's all it took,'' Stoner said smiling. ''We just had the goalie on her heels.''
''Eberle and Carlee are always a threat while they are out there. If we can get them the ball they can always do something ... and they have so far this season.''
Ferrell made the score 3-0 on a penalty kick at the 29:27 mark of the second half. With 13:21 left, Gillespie recorded her second goal, thanks to a Madison Keenan assist.
Fogle's score came with 7:56 remaining off a give from Sarah Holtzclaw.
''What we're trying to do is just a matter of repetition,'' Stoner said. ''We're an experienced team, so we've handled it pretty well so far. It's a big change. It really is.''
Brianna Sowers had five saves for the Red Devils, while Sophia Wiedman made three.
Carney and Emily Miller combined for nine saves for the Monarchs (1-6).
''The girls really came out hard the second half,'' Monarchs head coach Ashley Vivirito said. ''Like I told them, I'm not upset with them at all. They did their best.
''St. Clairsville is a very physical team and they deserved to win.''
Vivirito said she's seen steady improvement from her squad, including Thursday when the Red Devils took the early lead.
''Before when the other team has gone ahead like that we have had a tendency to give up,'' she said. ''But (Thursday), we responded and played as a team.''
Thorp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org