Soccer season is underway

Big Red girls open strong by defeating city rival Catholic Central, 6-0

GOOD START — Big Red’s Mary Marshall celebrates the first goal of Friday’s season opener against Catholic Central at Harding Stadium by high-fiving Myla Gulan. Also shown are Jadyn Bennett, Libby Saccoccia and Central’s Liz Bolster. (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

STEUBENVILLE — Soccer season started with a Steubenville showcase.

The Big Red girls’ soccer team controlled the ball against rival Catholic Central, and Big Red capitalized on multiple opportunities en route to a 6-0 victory against the Crusaders Friday inside Harding Stadium.

“For the first time out, we played well,” veteran Big Red (1-0) head coach Jared Robinson said. “We payed a good game. We are happy. For the first time out, we shook off some nerves, and we shook off some cobwebs. We were able to get our feet underneath us.

“The girls played hard. We possessed the ball well, and we were able to capitalize on some opportunities when we got the ball down there.”

Catholic Central struggled at times in its first game, and the Crusaders were forced to play defense for the majority of the game.

“Overall, we played well,” first-year Catholic Central (0-1) head coach Jonathan Hoover said. “We were missing a couple of players. They are still on vacation.

“We played better in the second half. We held them to two goals after giving up four in the first half. We played well for the first time this season.”

The game was a part of the statewide initiative “OHSAA’s Friday Night Futbol, presented by the Columbus Crew SC.” Each school hosting a game in the state will receive two tickets to the Columbus Crew’s match against the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at Mapfre Stadium.

Big Red recorded 18 shots on goal, while Catholic Central collected just one.

Mary Marshall tallied a hat trick to lead the way offensively for the Red and Black, while Jadyn Bennett and Anastasia Crisante each netted one.

Chloe Petrelle collected two assists, while Rylee Hubbard delivered one.

“We out-stepped them to the ball,” Robinson said. “We were able to out-step them. We had good control of the ball. We were able to get the ball, and we were able to move the ball around to our players. We were able to play the ball to feet. We had the ball at our feet, and we were able to utilize it.”

Bri DeChristopher was busy for most of the match as the junior goalie produced 12 saves.

“They played exactly the way we thought they would play,” Hoover said. “They played the ball in the middle, and then they would play it out wide and run after it.”

The middle of the field belonged to Big Red.

“No. 20 (Crisante) was their center-mid, and she held the ball,” Hoover said. “She held the ball well, and she distributed the ball well. She did what you are supposed to do. She was able to distribute the ball to her teammates. They found space, and they were able to take advantage of that space in the first half. They were able to expose us a little bit defensively.”

The first five and last five minutes of each half are important, and Big Red was on top of its game early on as well as late in the first half. The victors scored their first goal less than five minutes into the match, and the hosts scored a pair of goals in the final 3:30 of the first half as they built a four-goal lead at halftime.

Catholic Central had a difficult time trying to muster some offense.

“They did not really do anything different,” Robinson said. “They played with a lot of pride and with a lot of passion.

“Our girls just came out and did what they are taught to do. They came out and did what they are supposed to do.”

The two teams normally play one another later in the season, but that was not the case this season.

“It was nice,” Robinson said. “It was good to open with them. This is a game the girls look forward to. It was nice to see both teams at home, so that the fans could come out and see both teams.”

The Crusaders treated the game like it was any other game.

“It was nice, but we look at it as they are just another team we have to play,” Hoover said. “We would have liked to have played them later in the season. That way we would have been able to work all the kinks out. They are just another team on our schedule we have to play. It was good to be able to come out and compete against them.”

Both teams are scheduled to play at 6 p.m. Thursday. Catholic Central will play Magnolia at home on the Tony Recinella Soccer Field, while Big Red will travel to play Harrison Central at Wagner Field.

“Tonight was a good game,” Robinson said. “We were able to establish ourselves. It was a good opener. We were able to possess the ball, and we capitalized. We competed. We are going to get better every game. That is what our girls do.”


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