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Big Red boys miss chances in loss to East Liverpool

SENDING IT AHEAD — Big Red’s Esteban Serna sends the ball ahead up the sideline in front of East Liverpool’s Levi George during Monday’s match at Harding Stadium. - Andrew Grimm

STEUBENVILLE — The shots were there for the Big Red boys soccer team, however the goals were not.

Steubenville outshot East Liverpool, but the Potters capitalized on more of their opportunities en route to a 4-1 victory against Big Red Monday night inside Harding Stadium to spoil senior night.

“We had opportunities,” Big Red (6-8) head coach Greg Bowers said. “We ended up running a play. We had opportunities, but we did not do a good job of finishing. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes you score in bunches too.”

The Potters tallied two goals in each half, and East Liverpool produced three goals when playing a man down.

“It was a great night defensive wise,” East Liverpool (7-2-2) head coach Zack Kinsey said. “We played a man down the entire second half, and part of the first half. I am real proud of the guys. We were able to score with 10 guys, and we are able to keep them from scoring. Our goalkeeper played a great game. This was his fourth start. He has been nails back there. We had to adjust our defense in the second half.

“Our counters were right on point. We executed our gameplan. We beat a good team. Steubenville does a good job of possessing the ball. Our kids did a great job countering.”

Scotty Mitchell tallied the lone goal of the game for Big Red. Cole McCullough collected an assist.

J.P. Walsh made two saves in goal.

“Steubenville does a great job of passing the ball,” Kinsey said. “Greg does a really good job with things. They do a good job of spacing out on the field. We knew that coming in. Our counters were spot on. We were able to execute.”

Audun Barnhart, Ayden Payne and Jacob Myers all contributed a goal and an assist, while Brennan O’Hara netted a goal for the Potters.

Cole Dailey made nine saves in goal.

“They have got some size, and they have got some speed,” Bowers said. “We thought they were able to string some nice passes together.”

The Potters struck quickly to take the lead as East Liverpool scored less than five minutes into the match. Barnahart opened the scoring with his goal coming 4:59 into the first half giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.

O’Hara recorded his goal with 3:26 left to play before halftime to give the victors a 2-0 lead.

Mitchell collected his goal with 26:16 left to play in the second half pulling Big Red to within 2-1. Big Red had some chances to draw even, but they were unable to convert.

Payne regained some breathing room for East Liverpool when he scored with 13:54 left to play to regain a two-goal lead for the Potters at 2-1.

Myers capped the scoring with 3:20 still showing on the scoreboard clock.

“We are peaking at the right time,” Kinsey said. “This is when you want to peak. We are peaking. I am proud of the kids. We are playing at our highest level of the season right now.”

Big Red outshot East Liverpool, 15-7, and Big Red took 10 shots on goal, while the Potters took six.

“In the first half, we thought they did a good job defensively,” Bowers said. “In the second half, we did a better job of getting through their defense. We were able to take some shots. We were able to work some passes. We just didn’t finish. That will come with time.”

Big Red’s offensive pressure resulted in the Potters having to take 25 goal kicks, while the hosts took seven. East Liverpool took five corner kicks, while Big Red took four.

“We are going to watch the film,” Bowers said. “We are going to break it down. We are going to adjust. We know we lost 4-1. We are disappointed. If we see them next time, that will be the game that counts.”

The game is the only one between Big Red and the Potters during the regular season, however, the two teams may play again in the postseason. East Liverpool – the No. 10 seed, is scheduled to open up Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional play against No. 16 seed Maysville at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at Patterson Field. The winner of that game will play No. 9 seed Big Red at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at Harding Stadium.

East Liverpool played the final 49:59 a player down after Izaiha Browning received a red card with 9:59 left to play in the first half.

Prior to the game, Big Red honored its five seniors — Noah Reinacher, Levani Balakos, Jacob Lane, Alex Barnhouse and Mitchell.

“They are a good group of kids,” Bowers said. “Two of them — Barnhouse and Noah — have been four-year lettermen. Scotty came on as a junior. Levani and Lane are a product of hard work. They have work hard. We appreciate all of their hard work. They have done a good job representing Big Red and our program.”

East Liverpool is scheduled to play Catholic Central at 5 p.m. Wednesday on the road at the Tony Recinella Soccer Field.

“We have a busy week,” Kinsey said. “We play Catholic Central Wednesday, and then we play Oak Glen on senior night on Thursday before playing at Beaver Local Saturday.

“This is year is different. Normally, we start out the year by playing a lot of games. This year, we have a lot of games late in the year. I’m not sure what approach we should be taking at this point. We are peaking. We will be ready to come out and play.”

Big Red is slated to play Minerva at 6 p.m. Wednesday on the road.

“We play a tremendous schedule,” Bowers said. “We play Minerva, and then we play Wheeling Central. We are going to keep working and prepare for the tournament. We will be ready to go.”

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