Big Red cruises past Harrison
STEUBENVILLE — Steubenville looked like the OVAC Class 4A No. 1 seed Monday night at Harding Stadium, dominating from start to finish to take care of fourth-seeded Harrison Central 7-0 win in the semifinal match led by a four-goal performance from senior striker Adam DiCarlo.
“We talked about executing, coming out playing our game and possessing the ball,” Big Red coach Greg Bowers said. “They did everything we could have asked them to do. They stayed back and played more defensive on us. We tried to keep possession of the ball, which means that they can’t score. We did a nice job of that. Hats off to the team; this was our fourth game in about six days, and they put together a good performance.”
DiCarlo opened up the scoring with a shot from in close on the right side of the goal in the ninth minute. Big Red (8-1-1) had dominated possession up to that point. After a couple of near misses, DiCarlo struck again in the 22nd minute, this time with a long distance shot to make it a 2-0 game.
Ryan Delelles, who was fresh off of a five-goal performance last week, scored on a penalty kick in the 23rd minute to give Big Red a 3-0 lead, which was also the halftime score. Delelles also picked up three assists.
DiCarlo connected for the hat trick in the 41st minute to carry the Steubenville domination over to the second half, taking a pass from senior midfielder Evan Naylor and maneuvering his way around Harrison Central (5-6) defenders to create space and fire a shot into the low right corner of the net.
DiCarlo connected again in the 46th minute on a header from in close on a nice set up from sophomore midfielder Noah Reinacher to make it a 5-0 advantage.
“It feels good,” DiCarlo said. “I haven’t been able to shoot recently, and I guess tonight was just my night. My teammates kept giving me the ball and setting me up which let me score. It’s good to have this performance, especially in the first round of the tournament. We had a tough game on Saturday, and we’re just keeping the wins rolling.”
Senior defender Joseph Venditti connected in the 61st minute to make it 6-0 with an assist from sophomore striker Dalan Livingston. Freshman striker Andrew Neely capped the scoring with a shot that just barely snuck by Huskies freshman goalkeeper Jojo Downs, who was thrust into action with regular starter junior Job Positano out with an injury. Downs had 15 saves.
“He’s great at making reaction saves,” Huskies coach Derek Gramling said. “When he gets taller he’ll be better. He’s got a very bright future for us. We let them have too much time, and when you give a team like Steubenville time to look up, find a pass or take a shot, bad things are going to happen. Steubenville is tough enough. When you’re missing three starters it just makes it even harder. We got some experience for the younger guys there at the end so there was some positive.”
In goal for Big Red, junior Jacob Clevenger made three saves.
“We discussed when we watched film last night that we weren’t happy giving up seven goals in our last two games,” Bowers said. “It was a big point of focus to keep our defense in shape and get another shut out.”
Harrison Central is off until Oct. 3, when it faces St. Clairsville on the road. Big Red advances to the OVAC Class 4A final on Saturday, facing the St. Clairsville-East Liverpool winner. That game is on Wednesday in East Liverpool.
The 4A title game will take place at 10 a.m. at Red Devil Stadium in St. Clairsville. Big Red fell to Weir in the final last year, and the Red Riders defeated St. Clairsville in the semifinal match. Weir moved to Class 5A this season.
“We’re going to take (today off), watch some film and get some rest. Then we start preparing for whoever we get next, whether it’s St. Clairsville or East Liverpool,” Bowers said. “We kind of have a chip on our shoulder and feel like we have a little unfinished business from last year to complete.”
¯ Big Red knocked off Harrison in the semifnal game for the second straight season. Steubenville won 3-0 last year at Harding Stadium.