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Big Red falls to University in OVAC 5A tournament

STEUBENVILLE — Controlling the ball is half the battle.

The No. 4 seed Big Red girls soccer team struggled to keep possession of the ball against No. 5 seed University, while the Hawks took full advantage of their possession en route to a 4-2 victory in an OVAC Class 5A tournament quarterfinal Monday night on Reno Saccoccia Field inside Harding Stadium.

University netted the first two goals of the match. Big Red was able to make it a one-goal match on two occasions, however, the Hawks answered right back to steal the momentum.

“From what we saw, there were things beyond our control. We need to work on the little things,” Big Red (7-3-2) head coach Annie Cutri said. “We can’t let them turn inside. We are not winning balls in the air. We are not winning the 50/50 balls, and that killed us.”

With the win, University (7-4) will now play No. 1 seed Parkersburg South in the semifinals Wednesday on the road. Brooke, the No. 2 seed, will play No. 3 Morgantown Wednesday at home in the other semifinal. Morgantown shut out No. 6 seed John Marshall, 10-0, Monday night at home in the other quarterfinal.

Emily Lattea and Tali Sizemore each tallied two goals for University.

“They have a very-good first touch,” Cutri said. “We have to do a better job with our first touch. Their first touch made the difference. Kudos to them. We wish them good luck in the rest of the tournament.”

Libby Saccoccia collected both goals for Big Red off assists by Anastasia Crisante. Elexis Martin made three saves for Big Red.

The match was scoreless for nearly 30 minutes before Sizemore scored her first goal to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage with 10:03 remaining to be played in the first half.

The score remained 1-0 at halftime, however, the Hawks quickly added to their lead in the second half. This time, Lattea found the back of the net for the first time giving the victors a 2-0 advantage 1:14 into the second half.

The two-goal advantage did not last long, however, as Steubenville struck back. Big Red was awarded a free kick, and Crisante sent the ball into the box to Saccoccia, who was able to head the ball into the net pulling the hosts to within 2-1 with 36:14 still remaining on the scoreboard clock.

Big Red had the momentum as the team tried to push forward for the equalizer, however, the Hawks tallied their third goal of the match a little more than four minutes later when Lattea delivered her second goal to make it 3-1 with 32 minutes left to play.

Saccoccia scored again to pull Big Red to within 3-2 with 18:21 left, but once again it did not take long for University to answer.

Sizemore recorded her second goal with 16:06 on the clock to once again turn the momentum to University’s side.

“All we can do is forget about this game and move on,” Cutri said. “We have to figure some things out as. Now, we are going to focus on the rest of the season and the district tournament. We are going to schedule some games in the next week or two.”

Big Red’s next game is to be determined. The next game currently on the schedule is on Oct. 2.

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