Beigel leads Crusaders to sectional title

TAKING CONTROL — Steubenville Catholic Central’s Ethan Moore (4) runs with the ball away from Coshocton’s Guilermo Rodriguez while Mark Kissinger (15) watches during a Division III sectional final on Wednesday. (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

STEUBENVILLE — The Steubenville Catholic Central boys soccer team was in control from start to finish on Wednesday at the Tony Recinella Soccer Field, rolling to a 5-0 win over No. 5 Coshocton to win a Division III sectional title. The No. 3 Crusaders advance to the OHSAA Division III, Region 11 East district tournament, led by a hat trick from sophomore Tom Beigel.

“We’re very happy that we were able to get this first one and continue to move on and extend our season,” Central coach Steve Kopcha said. “It was a very competitive game; they were good competition.”

The Crusaders (13-4) controlled possession a good bit of the contest, outshooting the Redskins (8-7-3) by a 32-10 margin. Central put 16 shots on goal, while Coshocton made Crusaders junior goalkeeper Travis Shore make just two saves for the shutout.

“If you’re going to score you have to shoot,” Kopcha said. “That’s one of the things we wanted to do. We were trying to build different combinations of shooting from the outside and bringing the ball in close. Wherever we could find an opportunity, we wanted to try and get a shot on goal.”

Beigel, who was returning from an injury, opened the scoring in the ninth minute as he and senior Mikey Irvin (assist) got behind the Coshocton defense, and senior Joe Kuebler found Beigel to put the Crusaders on top.

“We were a little banged up at the end of season,” Kopcha said. “We were able to get some guys back and they came back healthy and rested, and that showed a little bit today out there on the field.”

Beigel made it 2-0 in the 26th minute, firing his second of the game off junior Redskins goalkeeper Kameron Brown (11 saves) and into the net behind him.

“We misplayed balls,” Coshocton coach Matt Hartley said. “That’s really what it came down to. The first one is a ball we should have had, and the second one was another misplayed ball. After that the momentum was just gone, and we never captured it again. Offensively we’ve struggled a lot this year, and defensively they took away what we wanted to do and what we are capable of doing, and therefore we just never really recovered.”

Central junior midfielder Kobe Rice connected from about 15 yards out in the 32nd minute for a 3-0 lead. In the 38th minute, Beigel completed the hat trick to give the Crusaders a 4-0 lead at the break.

“I was out for our last game, so it felt really good to come back and get a hat trick,” Beigel said. “It was a team win. We played really well. It feels good, especially after going out in the first round last year. We’re not done yet; we’re going to keep it going.”

Central kept the pressure on in the second half, taking 18 of its 32 shots in the second 40 minutes, and added to the lead in the 54th minute when Irvin set up fellow senior Joe Zinno for a goal to make it a 5-0 Crusader lead.

“That’s one of the things we stressed at halftime,” Kopcha said. “No matter what the score is, especially in tournament play, no game is ever over until it is actually over. We knew that there was a lot of pride and competitiveness on the other side, and they were going to play 80 minutes, so we needed to play 80 strong minutes as well.”

Shore made his best save of the game with under three minutes to play to preserve the shutout.

Central will play No. 1 Tuscarawas Valley on Tuesday at a neutral site. Tuscarawas dominated No. 11 Union Local 12-0 on Wednesday.