STEUBENVILLE - It took a while to punch through its first goal, but Steubenville Big Red controlled play from start to finish - outshooting Edison 22-8 - en route to a 3-0 Ohio Division II sectional win Wednesday at Harding Stadium.
"Any time you get a tournament victory it's a good one," said Big Red head coach Greg Bowers. "We prepared hard for this game, we executed our game plan, and we did a decent job finishing, but we can do better."
Added Edison Coach Chris Bomely of the match, "We always play hard going into the tournament so I was very pleased with our performance, our hustle, and our heart. We played well.
ADVANCING — Big Red’s Michael Rosaschi pushes the ball upfield as Edison’s Stephen Chivers, left, and Cody Kuntupis give chase during Big Red’s 3-0 sectional win over the Wildcats Wednesday at Harding Stadium.
-- Fred Younce
"We just got a couple of bad breaks in the first half, and we couldn't execute on offense."
After several near misses, including a pair of headers that went off posts, Big Red put home its first goal with 1:34 left in the first half when Stefano Lanni sent a free kick toward the net and Jorge Dominguez went up and headed it in for the 1-0 lead.
"We thought it was a matter of time," said Bowers. "It always helps to get the first one. It kind of relaxes the nerves.
"We came out strong, then we started to press a little bit, and that goal calmed us down a little bit."
It took just 1:24 for Steubenville to net its second score. Lanni lasered a shot that Edison goaltender Trav Bell was able to make a diving save on. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the ball spun away from Bell in front of the open net, and Brandon Llewellyn slid in and put home the rebound for a 2-0 lead that stood at halftime.
"I don't think it broke us, but it hurt a lot as far as we were thinking about going into halftime tied," said Bomely. "Giving up those two late goals hurt a little bit, but the kids played hard and I can't be mad at anything."
Big Red kept up the pressure throughout the second half. With 20:48 left in the game Steubenville put a stamp on its win when Lanni and Dominguez combined for the second time. Lanni sent a pass through the defense, Dominguez raced to the ball, and beat Bell for the 3-0 lead.
John Paul Duff turned away six shots to earn the win for Big Red. Trav Bell had 18 saves in goal for the Wildcats. The loss ended Edison's season.
"This is my third year so I've been with these seniors for three years as a head coach, and I've been working with them for probably about four or five years," said Bomely. "They've definitely improved, and I'm proud of them. I know they played hard out there."
Big Red advances to the Ohio Division II sectional co-final against Beaver Local Saturday at 1 p.m. at Harding Stadium.
"Beaver Local, although their record doesn't reflect it, plays a tough schedule," said Bowers. "It will be interesting. We'll have to bring our best game Saturday."