Beaver, St. C. play to tie in boys soccer

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Tuesday night’s boys’ high school soccer game between Beaver Local and St. Clairsville was a tale of two halves, with neither head coach liking the end result.

The visiting Beavers (1-3-2) took a 2-0 lead into the 10-minute halftime break by dominating much of the first half of action. However, the Red Devils (3-2-2) used a pair of Noah Brown corner kicks in the second half as the Buckeye 8 rivals played to a 2-all deadlock on the artificial surface at Red Devil Stadium.

Veteran St. Clairsville head coach Gary Watt was not at all pleased with his team’s performance in the first 40 minutes, and he let them know it at the intermission.

“We’re not an inexperienced team, but we’re not a new team,” he noted. “These guys all played last year. We’ve got 12 returning lettermen, but a lot of those guys were spot players last year, so, they’re new. They haven’t been able to figure out the focus from the beginning, so we’ve gone through lulls where we’re not aggressive, we’re not winning the 50/50s, we’re not passing accurately … we’re not looking upfield. That first half was just that. We looked terribly sloppy.

“We came out in the second half more aggressive,” he continued. “I know that meant we ended up with some more fouls. I don’t think they were unintentional, we were trying to be more aggressive and, unfortunately, we got fouled. That’s part of the game.”

Trailing 2-0, St. Clairsville didn’t waste any time in slicing the deficit in half as it scored in the 47th minute. Brown, a junior, had a corner kick from the right of the cage batted across the backline by Beaver Local goalkeeper Austin McCoy. On his ensuing attempt, the ball curved around the near post and tickled the twine as Alec St. Clair shielded McCoy from the ball.

The Red Devils continued to apply pressure as much of the second 40 minutes was played in the Beavers end of the field.

“They didn’t have a single shot on goal in the second half,” Watt proudly said. “We kept the ball in our offensive end of the field.”

With the home fans into the game, St. Clairsville didn’t disappoint.

Brown came through once again in the 66th minute as his corner shot from the right corner somehow found its way past McCoy and into the net.

“We practice corner kicks daily,” Watt said. “Their keeper had a little trouble manoeuvring. We clogged up the middle and he had to get past a couple of kids, so that helped us.

Good that Noah got those corner kicks, otherwise, we’d have come out of here with a loss.”

Beaver Local took a 2-0 lead on goals by Phillip Campbell (7th minute) and Alex Burgess (31st). However, they couldn’t solve junior goalkeeper Ryan Davenport after that. He finished with two saves.

“Both of his saves were really nice and they kept us in the game.”

Beaver Local head coach Joseph Zirillo could only shake his head after the hard-fought contest.

“We tend to come out strong. We just need to start finishing them.”