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Big Red, St. Clairsville tie on late corner kick

Steubenville scores in 79th minute for draw

ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Alyssa Bodkin (33) battles with Steubenville’s Jaleyss Scales (11) for possession of the ball during Wednesday night’s match on the pitch inside Red Devil Stadium. Big Red used a goal in the final minute to earn a 1-1 tie. Bodkin netted the Red Devils goal.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — St. Clairsville has been nearly unstoppable in the early going of the 2021 girls’ soccer season. The Red Devils had won their first five contests without much resistance. However, that all changed Wednesday night at cloud-covered Red Devil Stadium.

Steubenville, which dominated the second half, scored off a well-executed corner kick in the final minute of play to stun the Red Devils and earn a 1-1 draw on the artificial pitch.

“I feel in the first half we were kind of unlucky and we were in their heads a little bit,” Steubenville head coach Annie Cutri said. “At halftime we talked about stepping to balls and making sure to move off the ball. We did a good job of that Monday, but we didn’t in the first half tonight. In the second half we did a much better job. That’s how we play Big Red soccer.”

Big Red (2-2-1) hit the post once in each half, with the initial blast coming off a Chloe Petrelle in the 21st minute. They also rang one off of the top left corner when Hailey Neely just missed a goal.

The duo more than atoned for their near-misses when they combined on the corner kick with time winding down in regulation play.

After the ball trickled over the St. Clairsville end line with 30 seconds left on a running clock, Neely grabbed the ball and quickly placed it for a corner kick. Not wasting any time, she sent the ball towards the front of the cage where Petrelle deflected it into the back of the net, much to the delight of her teammates who swarmed her in celebration and to the dismay of the Red Devils who could wonder what if?

“Those two girls, along with Libby Saccoccia, have been playing since they were freshmen,” Cutri said. “They are our leaders.”

St. Clairsville took a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute as Alyssa Bodkin got behind the defense and Emily Thompson found her with a nifty feed. Bodkin’s right-footed laser went through the fingers of Steubenville goalkeeper Elexis Martin and into the net. The net-finder came on the Red Devils’ seventh-and-final shot as they did not record one in the second half.

“The second half was not good. We just didn’t show up for the second half,” a disappointed St. Clairsville head coach Wes Stoner allowed. “I’m not sure why, either. We did the same thing against them up there last year and they beat us 3-1. I don’t know. It just wasn’t there in the second half for whatever reason.

“I don’t know whether it was nerves or what, but I just told them that we need to learn how to win close games like that,” he continued. “I told them this was a good lesson for the rest of the season. They’ll remember this one. They’ll remember how to win close games.”

Martin stopped six of the seven shots she faced while St. Clairsville’s Rileigh Wood made seven saves on 11 shots.

St. Clairsville hosts Indian Creek Saturday.

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