Ohio, W.Va. boys battle to a 1-all tie in OVAC ASG
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — While all-star games are all in good fun, the ending to the boys OVAC All-Star Soccer game almost was a Hollywood script.
With the score tied at 1-1 and less than 10 seconds to go, West Virginia had Ohio on the brink.
Moving the ball downfield, Wheeling Park’s Guillaume Weimer dished a perfect cross to classmate and teammate James Hofmann. As time was winding down, Hofmann headed the ball, only to see it go centimeters right of the post just before time expired and the game ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
“We were down by a goal, so myself and the coaches decided that we were going to go with three in the back and try to push a few more guys forward. We figured we might as well try to go for it,” University and West Virginia coach Dustin Talton said. “We got the goal and we pushed numbers up there and then that’s the opportunity we wanted to create. Getting guys in the box and be a little front loaded there. It almost played out for us.”
West Virginia saw themselves in an early hole. Indian Creek’s Alpha Jallow found the back of the net 41 seconds into the game as he took a pass from his Redskins teammate Anthony Perrino.
Jallow had another opportunity to score with 18:30 remaining in the first half. On a free kick, Jallow put up a nice attempt, but the ball went right over the post and the score remained at 1-0.
“We knew West Virginia was very good. They have a lot of talent,” Ohio and Indian Creek coach Chuck Brettel said. “With University and some of the bigger schools over there, I looked at us as an underdog coming in. I think scoring early really helped us. It made us believe in our head, ‘Hey, we are as good as they are.’ I think it just carried through until the end. But you could see a little bit in the second half, West Virginia controlled the ball a little more because they have a lot of premiere type athletes. I’m really proud of the kids. I would have liked to won. But its one case a tie is not such a bad thing and it was a lot of fun. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had at one of these games. I think everybody enjoyed themselves. All the kids played well on the both sides. It was good. It was a good day.”
And control the ball West Virginia did. The Mountain State had plenty of shots on goal, however, Ohio goalkeepers kept them in check. St. Clairsville’s Ryan Davenport proved why he was one of the best around as he tallied five saves in the first half. The senior was also named 4A Player of the Year.
Steubenville’s Jacob Clevenger went in in the second half and was just as solid. The Big Red standout totaled four saves.
“Davenport is Player of the Year and you can see why,” Brettel said. “And Clevenger is an excellent goalie. I had a couple of keepers good enough to play in this game, but had to put on defense because those two kids are so good.”
With 11:21 left in the contest, Wheeling Central’s Kyle Patrick Newmeyer secured a clutch goal to tie it at 1-1.
Like the Ohio goalkeepers, West Virginia’s had a solid day of his own. Linsly’s Chaz Ghaphery compiled six saves on the day.
“I thought it was an exciting match,” Talton said. “I thought it was an even game and both teams had opportunities. I think for these guys for being seniors, being their last time, getting to play high school soccer, I don’t think we could’ve had a much better game for both states.”
Talton was named OVAC Coach of the Year while Wheeling Central’s Jacob Estep secured 1A/3A honors and University’s Joseph Biafora claimed 5A honors.
∫ With the passing of Soccer Director Chuck Robinson, the MVP awards for the game were renamed the Chuck Robinson Memorial Offensive and Defensive MVP Awards.
The offense MVPs went to Jallow and Hofmann while Steubenville’s Justice Slappy and Linsly’s Corban James-Barrett received defensive honors.
∫ After each game, Robinson’s widow, Donna, his three sons Jared, Jason and Jeff and his grandchildren were all on the field during the awards presentations. Donna was given a ball that was signed by all the players and coaches that participated in the games.