Big Red girls conlude perfect week by downing city rival

CROSSING PATHS — Steubenville’s Anastasia Crisante gets tangled with Catholic Central goalkeeper Bri DeChristopher on Saturday. (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

STEUBENVILLE — Any time Steubenville meets Catholic Central, there is a lot of pride on the line.

Saturday at Harding Stadium, the Big Red girls soccer team left the field with all the bragging rights, dominating its city rival from start to finish for a 9-2 victory in front of a nice crowd.

“It’s awesome to play this game in front of the home crowd,” Steubenville coach Jared Robinson said. “We have great fans. These girls love to play on their field. They love to represent their school and their city. They did that to the fullest (Saturday).”

The 3-0 start Steubenville is off to is the best under Robinson and in more than a few years.

“It’s nice to see where the program has come, and it is nice to get a result like this,” Robinson said. “We are just really focused on getting ourselves to be better and keeping the momentum going.”

Leading 4-0 at halftime, he wanted to see his team keep up the intensity. His players listened and responded, adding five goals in the second half and pushing the lead to 8-0 before the Crusaders (1-2) were able to get on the board.

“There is always a tail of two halves,” Robinson said. “You don’t want to come out one half, get ahead and then fall flat and let them back in it. We preached to the girls to keep doing what they were doing but do it with even more intensity and take it to them. They delivered.”

His message, and the importance of the city rivalry, resonated with senior MaKayla Crownover.

“We practiced hard for this,” she said. “We finished like we wanted to. We were up at half, and we came out and started all over again. It feels good to be off to a good start, but we have to keep working and can’t let it get to our head because we have harder competition coming.”

Chloe Petrelle, Mary Marshall and Libby Saccoccia each scored two goals apiece for Steubenville. Marshall also picked up five assists, while Saccoccia added two. Other goals for Steubenville came from Jadyn Bennett, Anastasia Crisante and Rylee Hubbard.

The Crusaders got on the board with a little more than nine minutes to play on a header by senior Christine Dombroski.

“It was a tough game,” Central coach Katrina Fabian said. “I’m really proud of my girls, though. They played much better in the second half. We asked them to do a lot of things. We changed a lot of positions to try to accomodate what the other team was bringing at us. They didn’t really think twice about it. They just did what we asked, and we had a lot more opportunities in the second half.”

After Steubenville pushed the lead to 9-1, Central’s Ali Grimm connected from distance. Fabian was happy to see her team continue to play hard despite the score.

“I always tell them in practice that there is not a play that doesn’t matter,” she said. “Don’t walk and keep running regardless of the score. Keep playing until the end. Even if it is a lost game, you’re still playing to get better for the next one.”

Big Red travels to East Liverpool on Wednesday. Central travels to Linsly on Monday.