Tornadoes storm Big Red boys
STEUBENVILLE — The Big Red boys soccer team faced a stiff test against undefeated Dover.
The Tornadoes scored less than five minutes into the match and did not look back, en route to a 5-0 victory Wednesday night on Reno Field inside Harding Stadium.
“They are undefeated for a reason,” Big Red (6-6) head coach Greg Bowers said. “We knew they were good. We were up against having played (Tuesday) night, but we can’t use that as an excuse. We did not match their intensity and their toughness. They pushed us off of the ball. We can’t allow teams to do that.”
Dover recorded four goals in the first half and scored one in the second.
“It was a good night,” Dover (10-0-4) head coach Matt Harrington said. “This is always a tough pace to play. Coach always has a good team. This field is a little bit smaller. It can take a while to adjust to that, but our kids were able to adjust to it.”
Reese Utter tallied two goals and an assist to lead the way for the Tornadoes. Devon Swiger and Ryan Nixon each collected a goal and an assist, while Nick Newland delivered a goal. Brecklin Bigler contributed an assist.
Dover used two goalies. Chase Sanda started and was replaced during the second half by Grady Kapper. Neither one had to make a save.
“They move the ball well,” Bowers said. “They are physical. They go after the ball hard. Their challenges are hard. We did not come out and match their toughness in the first half. We did a better job in the second half.”
J.P. Walsh made four saves in goal for Big Red.
“He has a style, and he teaches his kids that style,” Harrington said about Bowers. “I know they lost a lot of kids. It is hard when you lose standout players.”
Dover outshot Big Red, 10-1. The Tornadoes had nine shots on goal, while Big Red did not have any.
“We did not have too many opportunities,” Bowers said. “We didn’t possess the ball. They close down on you with their defenders. Their defenders have strength and speed. They make it tough.”
Swiger opened the scoring with 35:13 left in the first half to give Dover a 1-0 lead. Utter followed with his first goal nearly 13 minutes later to make the score 2-0. Nixon’s goal increased Dover’s advantage to 3-0, and Utter capped the scoring in the first half with his second goal with 3:56 remaining before halftime.
The Tornadoes also got off to a fast start in the second half, as they scored less than six minutes into the half. This time, Newland found the back of the net with 34:19 left to play.
Dover is the first school listed in the other schools receiving votes in the fifth Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Poll, which was released Monday.
“It is not always pretty, but we are OK with that,” Harrington said about his team remaining undefeated on the season.
Big Red: Hosts Catholic Central 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the 7th-annual Together We Care soccer tournament.
Dover: Travels to River View at 5 p.m. Tuesday.