Crusaders move to 9-0 with victory

STEUBENVILLE – The Catholic Central boys’ soccer team, behind the 1-2 punch of Leo Herrmann and John-Paul McNamara, raised its record to 9-0 with a 2-1 victory over Cambridge Saturday afternoon at the Tony Recinella Soccer Field.

“It was a good day,” Catholic Central head coach Steve Kopcha said. “It was definitely a different day.

“Cambridge came in with a game plan. They had a defensive mindset approach. They executed. They played well. They limited our chances. Their goalie played a great game. He did a nice job. When we had chances, he made some great saves.

“We found a way to score a couple of goals. One goal made the difference today. Fortunately, that one goal belonged to us.”

McNamara also recorded an assist.

Kopcha said he believes this is the first Catholic Central team to start a season 9-0.

Cambridge netted a late goal on a direct kick, but the Bobcats were unable to complete the comeback.

“They are a pretty good team,” Cambridge (2-8) head coach Gheorghe Radu said. “We had chances. They had chances. We scored an own goal. That made a difference. We could have tied.”

The Crusaders led the Bobcats, 2-0, before Eric Fox scored to pull Cambridge to within 2-1 with about seven minutes left to play.

“They are a good team,” Radu said. “They are not one of the strongest teams we have played, but they are pretty good.

“We had more expectations. Things just didn’t fall into place.

“We still have to work on things. We have a really young team. Hopefully, we can get better and do well in the tournament. We are looking forward to that.

“I like how Catholic Central plays. They have a good group of kids.

“I’m happy. Both teams played well. It was exciting. Maybe we will see them again in the tournament.”

John Bolster recorded eight saves in goal for the Crusaders.

Kevin Scrudders stopped 11 shots for the Bobcats.

Catholic Central tallied a goal in each half.

“We are taking it game by game,” Kopcha said. “We have goals that we want to achieve. We have to focus to do it. We are going to take it one game at a time.”

Catholic Central is scheduled to return to the field at 5 p.m. Monday at local rival Brooke. Cambridge is slated to return to the pitch Tuesday at home against Zanesville.

“We know how we want to play,” Kopcha said. “If we put the effort in and we play with energy and we play the very best we can, I will be satisfied with the result whether it is a win, a loss or a tie. As long as we play our very best, that is all you can ask them to do.”