Break helps Central pull away from Creek
STEUBENVILLE — The Catholic Central boys soccer team had more possession than Indian Creek, but neither team was able to produce a goal in the first 20 minutes or so of the match when the game was halted for a two-minute water break.
The break re-energized Tom Beigel and his Catholic Central teammates as Beigel tallied four goals in about a 20-minute span of game time, leading the Crusaders to a 5-0 victory against the Redskins on a hot Tuesday evening at the Tony Recinella Soccer Field.
Beigel collected his first goal of the match about 24 minutes into the first half, and he capped the run with his final goal coming about four minutes into the second half.
“The water break definitely worked out for us,” Catholic Central (2-0) head coach Steve Kopcha said. “We were able to see what defense, what lineup and what formation they were using. With the water break, we were able to take a quick break. We were able to talk to the kids and break down what they were doing so we could do better against them. After the water break, we came out and scored three quick goals.”
Beigel’s second goal came about two minutes after his first, and his third goal came about a minute after that.
Indian Creek (0-1) head coach Chuck Brettell said the game changed after the break.
“I don’t want to blame the water break, but the game changed,” he said. “I don’t know what they had in theirs that we didn’t have in ours, but the game changed after the water break.
“We lost to an outstanding team. We will try to bounce back against Tusky Valley on Saturday.”
Michael Lee tallied a goal and an assist to help the Crusaders’ cause, while Matthew Duff finished with an assist.
Freshman Michael Duff made four saves in goal en route to his first high school shutout.
“This was our first game at home, and this was our first shutout,” Kopcha said. “Indian Creek is a quality opponent, and we were able to keep them off of the scoreboard. We were able to do that for a couple of reasons. I am proud of the kids, but we still have some things we need to work on as a team to make us even better.”
Coy Amis made nine saves in goal for Indian Creek.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m optimistic,” Brettell said. “We started three freshmen and four sophomores. I think we will be pretty good at the end of the season. We got beat by a good Catholic Central team. I am proud of our team.
“Catholic Central is going to win a lot of games. I think they are going to win the OVAC Tournament. This was a real test for us. I’m disappointed but optimistic.”
The Crusaders outshot the Redskins, 17-5. Catholic Central collected 14 shots on goal, while Indian Creek recorded four. Both teams had a shot hit off of the crossbar.
The hosts took six corner kicks, while the visitors took three. The Crusaders’ offensive pressure resulted in the Redskins having to take 12 goal kicks, while the victors took seven.
“Our program is in good shape,” Brettell said. “We have had back-to-back good freshmen classes. We will be having a couple more come up from the junior high. We have a lot of upside. We are going to be a really good program in a couple of years. The kids have good soccer IQs. They do a good job of moving the ball. We are getting on-the-job training.”
Lee scored his goal about 20 minutes into the second half, and the game was stopped for another two-minute water break immediately following the goal. There was no drastic change after the second break.
“I think if we are able to split our first eight games, I think we can run the table after that,” Brettell said. “I think we can have a really good season. We played Catholic Central, and then we play Big Red and Weir next week.”
Beigel was the go to guy up front for Catholic Central, and his ability to finish around the goal was the difference in the match.
Gunnar Brettell led the offensive charge for the Redskins.
“Gunnar is an excellent player,” Kopcha said. “He is talented. He is able to control the ball. He was able to create some dangerous chances — one shot hit off the crossbar. He is able to distribute the ball, and he is able to control the ball in the middle of the field. He is a talented player. He is going to do great things for Indian Creek.”
Indian Creek was able to create some offense with only three players playing up top, while the other players were focused on defense. The defensive strategy paid off early for the Redskins as they were able to keep the Crusaders off of the scoreboard, but that all changed after the water break.
“It is still early, but our returning players are helping us jell,” Kopcha said. “We have had some guys step up. We have guys playing some new positions.”
Catholic Central defeated Cambridge, 8-1, Friday on the road in its season opener.
“We just want to work on our fundamentals,” Kopcha said. “We want to work on our communication. We want to possess the ball, and we want to string passes together. We want to play fundamental soccer.”
Coach Brettell has a lot of respect for Kopcha and the Catholic Central program.
“Steve does a great job,” he said. “They are just solid. They are like a machine. I need to have a machine like that. They are good every year. We have waited a lot of years to have a team like that. We are getting there. We have a good mix of players. We have good senior leadership.
“I’m optimistic. It is just going to depend on how soon our kids are going to grow. Once we grow our whiskers, we will be fine. We just have to be patient. I have told a lot of people that they have to be patient. It will be worth the wait. I think we are going to be a tough out by tournament time.”
Both teams are scheduled to play Saturday on the road. Indian Creek is slated to play Tuscarawas Valley at noon, while Catholic Central is scheduled to play Caldwell at 1 p.m.