Stormy weather cuts the evening short for local squads –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Before they left their homes last Saturday to make the trek to Fayetteville, soccer fans who were attending the Southern Hills Athletic Conference Preview had one eye or one ear on weather reports as the threat of severe weather hung over the action that was scheduled to take place. The weather cooperated beautifully for the first five and a half match ups of the day, but darks clouds brought thunder, lightning, and a drenching rain that forced SHAC Commissioner Michelle Gleim to cancel the final two contests of the evening.
The preview began under sunny skies with a match up of the Peebles Lady Indians and the heavy favorites to take home another SHAC gold ball trophy in 2016, the Lynchburg Lady Mustangs. The Lady Indians have numbers this season, listing 22 girls on the roster, but the Lady Mustangs have exceptional talent and experience and they showed it by blanking Peebles 7-0 in the one half of play (two 20-minute periods) that was used in the format for the preview.
Next up was the match up of the boys teams from Peebles and Lynchburg as Indians’ coach Brian Seaman fields a very young team in 2016, with a roster full of freshmen and sophomores. The Indians hung tough with the Mustangs, who are also the pre-season favorites to win the SHAC. Peebles’ Wade Shiveley got a good look at goal early on, but couldn’t convert and the play in goal of junior Trenton Wheeler kept Lynchburg off the board for the first few minutes, only until the Mustangs’ Austin Hilt took a shot that found its way right between Wheeler’s legs and into the back of the net.
With Coach Seaman substituting freely, the Peebles defense, led by senior Logan Gordley, stepped up for the rest of the first 20-minute period, until with just one minute to go, Lynchburg’s Drew Pitzer scored to make it 2-0. In the second 20 minutes, neither team dented the scoreboard as Wheeler continued his fine play in goal for the Indians and the game ended with the Mustangs winning 2-0.
“I was very pleased overall this time,” said Coach Seaman. “All these freshmen are learning what the speed of the high school game is like and to play 40 minutes with Lynchburg at 2-0 this early makes me very pleased. We have to do a better job of getting our strikers the ball. That is something we have to go back and work on before our first game.”
With reports of bad weather approaching beginning to trickle in, the decision was made to shorten the remaining contest to a pair of 15-minute periods and next to the pitch was Coach Dave D’Avignon and his North Adams Lady Devils as they faced the Eastern Lady Warriors, a team they tied for second place in the SHAC last season.
The only score of the game came at 5:41 of the first period when North Adams senior Jordyn Kell maneuvered herself into position on the left side of the goal and then drilled one past the Eastern goalie. From that point on, most of the action took part on the Eastern end as Coach D’Avignon used a number of substitutes but his defense still did a stellar job as Lady Devil’s goalie Madee Shipley had a pretty easy day between the pipes.
“It’s just a preview, “ said Coach D’Avignon. “We had some girls injured today and we had some younger girls step up and do a really good job. We are still evolving, changing who plays where, with a new system that we are using and it seems to be working really well. I was really proud of our girls off the bench who played the entire second period.
“They are getting the idea and this was a very good team that we played so it was a good time to see where we are. We scrimmaged Williamsburg and looked terrible so it is good to see that we still have some life.”
With the inclement weather bearing down on the area, Coach Isaac Wooten and his North Adams Green Devils boys squad quickly hit the field for their battle with Eastern Brown, a battle which was eventually going to be cut short.
The Devils had numerous scoring opportunities in the first 15-minute stanza, most of them coming to the foot of junior Tray Brand, who could just never get positioned to get off a solid shot that could find the net. The North Adams offense did a consistent job of getting the ball ahead of the pack to Brand and others, but after period one the two teams were in a scoreless tie. In the second period, the Devils got some nice early saves from freshman goalkeeper Cole Wagner that kept the Warriors off the board.
With 8:42 left to play, thunder rumbled in the distance and Ohio High School Athletic Association rules require a 30-minute wait as both teams left the area. Moments later lightning was spotted and within the next few minutes a driving rain arrived and the decision was made to cancel the rest of the night’s action after a shortened scoreless tie.
“We did a good job of containing them in their defensive third,” said Coach Wooten. “We had some scoring chances but I think a lot of that had to do with the field conditions. I am more of a quantity than quality coach and tell them they miss 100% of the shots they don’t take. We moved the ball well tonight with our passing and I like for our guys to get off a lot of shots.”
Because of the cancellation, four teams never got the opportunity to display their talents as both the girls and boys games between West Union and Lynchburg were washed out.