The Southern Hills Athletic Conference soccer preview was Aug. 15 at Lynchburg Clay High School featuring both boys and girls teams from throughout the league.
The afternoon kicked off with the Peebles girls team taking on Eastern. Peebles took control early scoring twice and nearly had a third when junior Caitlin Bradford took a bending shot that missed just wide of the frame.
From there Fairfield began their comeback netting one before sophomore Shaynelle Turner equalized with 6.9 seconds remaining to bring the Lions even, 2-2.
The Peebles boys found similar offensive success as the girls against Fairfield and dominated throughout.
Sophomore Wade Shiveley scored a tap in goal after a well-struck pass over the top of Fairfield’s back line fooled the defense. After a lightning delay had stopped play for over an hour, senior Brennan Sims picked up right where the Indians left off finding the back of the net in similar fashion and making it 2-0.
“I passed the ball off to Bostin Robinson and made it a run straight down the middle of the field,” Sims said. “I called for it and he gave me a pass on the ground and I saw the keeper running out so I just gave it a little toe poke and it somehow went through the keeper’s hands and just rolled right in.”
A third goal nearly went in for Peebles but the final horn sounded moments before the ball crossed the goal line. Still, the Indians were pleased with their performance.
“We have high expectations for this season,” Sims said. “We want to push the limit and with this team I think we can do anything we put our minds to.”
If the Indians do perform well this year, it will take some help from younger athletes as only three seniors are on the roster.
The third game featured the Eastern Lady Warriors and the Ripley Blue Jays. Freshman Kaycie Gardner got the scoring going about halfway through the match for Eastern and senior Kayla Tomlin made it 2-0 minutes later. It was at that point that Ripley came to life, making the game interesting.
The Blue Jay offense made life difficult for the Eastern defense towards the end of the game scoring one after the Warriors failed to clear a chance inside the six-yard-box. Ripley nearly equalized minutes later with about a minute to play on another scramble yards from just a few yards out but the ball was eventually cleared, securing the preview victory for the Lady Warriors.
Eastern girls coach Amanda Hauck said overall she was pleased to see her girls earn the victory and believes her team can finish at the top of the SHAC this year.
“We were missing some starters so any time you can get a win when you’re missing starters is a plus,” Hauck said. “This is the most talented team I’ve ever coached. They leave it all out on the field and fight until the end.”
Hauck said while her defense seemed flustered during the Ripley offensive onslaught, she said it isn’t a cause for concern.
“It’s tough to simulate a game-type situation like towards the end of that game in practice,” Hauck said. “We can do some random shot firing at the goalkeeper and one-touch finishing but we still have a tough defense and a few girls were playing out of position so I’m not worried about them.”
The following match between the Eastern and Ripley boys saw much less scoring as the teams drew 0-0. The Warriors had more shots but both teams showcased a strong defense in the stalemate.
The fifth game of the evening saw the North Adams Lady Devils facing Fayetteville. The Lady Devils struck early when junior Jordyn Kell placed a beautiful shot from inside the box across the face of goal into the top corner for the early goal.
After that, few chances were had between the two squads. Fayetteville failed to get a shot on goal during the 30 minute match and North Adams escaped with the 1-0 victory.
North Adams senior Shy Burns said her team buckled down on defense after the goal saying Fayetteville became much more determined to equalize.
“We ran a hard defensive play in the back,” Burns said. “In a way I would say [Fayetteville] was determined to score on us next so they played very strong offense.”
Boosted by the confidence of her team’s play on Saturday, Burns said she believes North Adams could be a real force in the SHAC this season.
“I would say our whole team is our strong point,” Burns said. “We come out playing hard and we end playing hard. We communicate great and work together perfectly. I do believe that we’re ready to take on this season strong together.”
While the North Adams girls scored early, the North Adams boys left their game-winning goal deep into their match with Fayetteville.
The Green Devils pressured the Rockets all match long but couldn’t find that final piece to their attack to put the ball on target. With just over two minutes remaining a North Adams shot deflected wide for a corner kick and after a scramble inside the box the ball was knocked in, rewarding a strong performance throughout. North Adams held on for the 1-0 win.
The host Lynchburg Clay Mustangs girls team had their way with the West Union girls in the seventh match.
With the varsity starting, Clay scored less than four minutes in and then almost immediately took out their starters. Multiple junior varsity squads played the majority of the remainder of the game scoring three more times before the final horn.
West Union had no substitutes and senior Donna Brodt said it wasn’t easy watching wave after wave of Clay substitutes come into the match.
“It was difficult because we were getting worn out and they were just subbing in a whole new team every few minutes but even though we were tired we didn’t let that beat us down,” Brodt said. “We knew we had to work together as a team and play our hearts out but more importantly enjoy our time on the field and learn from the experience.”
Fellow West Union senior Marina Sellars said she thought her team only falling 4-0 against multiple Clay teams was a point of strength for her team.
“I thought as a team we stuck together throughout the whole game,” Sellars said. “We didn’t let ourselves down one time. Yes, we got nervous about all the players on the other team but we couldn’t do anything about it. But them scoring only four goals on us the whole game and them having new legs in and out every two minutes and us not having one sub, I thought we did an amazing job.”
The final match of the evening saw the Lynchburg boys take on West Union in a match up that saw few offensive chances for either team.
It took nearly 26 minutes before the Mustangs broke through the Dragon defense and scored the first goal. West Union was able to mount a response a few minutes later but their best attack fizzled out inside the box and Lynchburg escaped with the 1-0 victory.
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or firstname.lastname@example.org.