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Big Red boys soccer team on to OVAC finals

OUT IN FRONT — Steubenville’s John Sidoriak kicks the ball away from John Marshall’s Shane Riley during Tuesday’s OVAC Class 5A semifinal match. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

STEUBENVILLE — Finishing was not a problem for the Big Red boys soccer team against John Marshall on Tuesday.

Second-seeded Steubenville recorded three goals in the first 3:30 and never looked back, en route to an 8-1 victory against the third-seeded Monarchs in an OVAC Class 5A tournament semifinal on Reno Field inside Harding Stadium.

“We got off to a quick start,” Big Red (4-2-3) head coach Greg Bowers said. “We were impressed with how we moved the ball. We had some nicely played goals. They were set up well. We had some nice crosses, and we were able to finish on the other end.”

Big Red’s fast start left John Marshall behind the eight ball from the opening whistle, as the hosts scored their first goal just 17 seconds into the match.

“They scored 10 or 20 seconds in,” John Marshall (2-7) head coach Jesus Marin said. “Steubenville is a good team. They made some nice passes. They know exactly what they are supposed to be doing. They may be the fastest team we are going to play. Their coach had them well prepared. They are one of the best teams we are going to see throughout the year.”

Big Red collected seven goals in the first half to take a 7-0 lead into halftime. Both teams scored a goal in the second.

Andrew Neely tallied four goals, John Sidoriak delivered a goal and two assists and Matt Loot and Mike Rook each contributed a goal and an assist for Steubenville. Also, Esteban Serna ended up with a goal, while Theo Loot produced a pair of assists.

“We hope scoring these goals may be a little bit contagious,” Bowers said. “Hopefully, we can start finishing better. We were happy to have scored that many goals. The boys did a great job.”

J.P. Walsh made three saves in goal for the victors.

Cooper Curto picked up the lone goal for the visitors off of an assist by Kumar. Cameron McClure made 11 saves.

“I said to them as long as you guys give every effort and have your hearts in it the whole time, there is nothing we can say,” Marin said. “They gave all they had. They left nothing on the field. Steubenville is a good team.”

With the win, Big Red has advanced to the tournament final against either No. 1 Brooke or No. 4 seed Parkersburg South. The Bruins and Patriots play in the other semifinal at 6 p.m. today on Paul “Bud” Billiard Field inside Brooke Memorial Stadium.

“Coach (Joe) Pepe’s team has had a great season,” Bowers said. “They are extremely fast up front. They have done a great job finishing. They are averaging about five or six goals a game. We are going to have our work cut out for us if we play them. We have three days to prepare and get ready.”

Big Red and the winner of today’s semifinal will play in the tournament final at noon Saturday at Brooke.

“Playing in the tournament is a great achievement for our players,” Marin said. “They have not had the opportunity to play in the tournament before. This was a great experience for them. This was something new to them. This was nice for the coaches and the team.”

John Marshall is scheduled to play Saturday down at Magnolia.

Big Red and Brooke are scheduled to play a regular season game at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at Harding Stadium.

“They have a lot of speed,” Bowers said. “They are a tough team. It is going to take all we got.”

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