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Big Red girls ‘shock’ Electrics 8-1 in sectional co-final

STEUBENVILLE — Nothing could stop the Big Red girls soccer team — not the wind, the rain, the flashes of lightning in the sky, the tornado warning or even Philo.

The Electrics struck first, however, Big Red shocked the Electrics with eight unanswered goals as No. 3 seed Big Red defeated No. 13 seed Philo, 8-1, in an Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional Co-Final on a windy and rainy Thursday night on Reno Saccoccia Field inside Harding Stadium.

“That’s been normal for us,” Big Red (10-4-5) head coach Annie Cutri said. “We get down early, and then we get down on ourselves. You saw that at the beginning of the season against Brooke and Oak Glen. We have talked to them about not getting down. We got down tonight, but we came back and scored. We showed we could do it.”

With the win, Big Red will now play No. 5 seed Zanesville in the district semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Monday at St. Clairsville’s Red Devil Stadium. Zanesville advanced to the game by defeating No. 11 seed River View, 1-0, in a sectional co-final Thursday night at home.

“Win and move on,” Cutri said. “These seniors have been playing together since they were little, and they want to take it as far as they can. The team knows the seniors want this. They brought it tonight, and they played for each other.”

Senior standout Libby Saccoccia recorded a hat trick and two assists to lead the way offensively for Big Red. Anastasia Crisante also collected a hat trick, Chloe Petrelle tallied two goals an an assist and Rylee Hubbard delivered two assists. Finally, Jules King, Marleny Torres and Lexi Martin also contributed an assist.

Martin made two saves in goal for Big Red.

Ali Carpenter produced the lone goal of the game for Philo (4-12).

Kierston Harper had a busy night in goal for the Electrics as the senior netminder recorded 13 saves. She faced 26 shots on the night.

“We played them last year,” Cutri said. “They are a strong team. They are physical. Starrzanne (Hilty) is a great coach. They have a good program. For us, it is a matter of what team — what Big Red team — shows up. It depends on what we bring to the field. We were on tonight.”

Big Red had a golden opportunity to take the lead, however, Harper took the ball away from Crisante on a breakaway keeping the match scoreless.

The match remained scoreless until Carpenter found the back of the net on a breakaway a little more than 14 minutes into the match giving the visitors from Muskingum County a 1-0 lead with 25:51 remaining in the first half.

The visitors held the lead for more than six minutes.

A flash of lightning in the sky occurred with around 19:20 left before halftime, and seconds later Petrelle scored off an assist by Torres tying the score at 1-1 with 19:12 left to play before halftime.

“Then, everybody’s phone went off,” Cutri said. “The weather was on our side tonight.”

Big Red quickly struck again as Saccoccia scored her first goal of the night a little more than a minute later giving Big Red a 2-1 lead with 18:04 remaining in the half.

Crisante capped the scoring in the half when she scored a little more than three minutes increasing Big Red’s advantage to 3-1 with 14:50 remaining to be played before halftime.

“Our team chemistry was great tonight,” Cutri said. “The girls supported each other the whole game. They all played for each other tonight.”

Big Red broke the game open with five goals in the second half.

“We tend to play laterally instead of trying to break through the defensive line,” Cutri said. “We are trying to get them to play more forward and move the ball forward and to break through their defensive line in order to create chances 1 vs. 1 instead of just taking a shot from 25-yards out. We did that tonight. Anastasia did it, and Libby did it.”

Big Red continued its strong play in the second half as the hosts netted an early goal to take complete control of the match. This time, Saccoccia scored for the second time off a throw-in by King giving the victors a 4-1 advantage with 32:45 left in the game.

Saccoccia completed hat trick 2:05 later to extend Big Red’s advantage out to 5-1.

Petrella collected her second goal to make it 6-1, and then Crisante contributed her second goal making it 7-1 instituting the running clock with 17:10 still showing on the scoreboard clock.

Crisante completed her hat trick when she scored in the waning seconds of the match.

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