MINGO JUNCTION - Despite controlling the ball for a majority of the first 35 minutes of its game against Indian Creek at Muth Field Tuesday, the Steubenville boys soccer team couldn't take advantage by finding the back of the net.
Then Blake Mullen found the top right corner of the net off a pass from Jorge Dominguez, opening the flood gates, and Big Red rolled to a 6-1 victory over the Redskins.
"We played good ball, but all season it's been finishing at the end," said Big Red head coach Greg Bowers. "I felt the second half the ball movement was even better than the first half. The kids are working hard. We're going to make mistakes, but we're learning."
SOCCER ACTION — Indian Creek’s Nick Utt (8) and Lucas Kennedy defend during Tuesday’s soccer match against Steubenville Big Red at Muth Field in Mingo Junction. Big Red took a 6-1 win in the contest.
-- Staff photo
Added Indian Creek head coach Jonathan Hoover, "The first 35 minutes we really played them hard, we played them tight, we played them how we're supposed to play. Then there was miscommunication and mental breakdown over the last five minutes, and it changes the way momentum of the entire game into their favor.
"I thought we played well for the first 35, but miscommunication, that's what killed us."
Big Red found the net for a second goal shortly after Mullen's opening tally. Jason Criss put himself in the right place at the right time, collecting a rebound of a Mullen shot and put in his own kick for a 2-0 Steubenville lead that held at halftime.
The second half saw Big Red continue to put heat on the Redskins as four Steubenville players put shots past the goalie.
"We moved it well," said Bowers. "We were the first to the ball the whole second half. We were patient. We dropped the ball back when needed.
"We switched fields when needed. That was one of our better efforts in the second half."
Dominguez made the score 3-0 after he collected a Dominic DiCarlo pass and put it over the head of Indian Creek's netminder Andrew Price.
Ethan Brown was the next to score. Dominguez sent a free kick toward the net and Brown connected for the header and a 4-0 lead.
The Redskins looked as if they stole momentum later in the half when Russell Ratcliffe put the ball in the left side of the net past Big Red keeper John Paul Duff to make the score 4-1, but the momentum was short-lived.
"It was a nice free kick," said Hoover. "Russell got to the ball. We've been working all summer to speed up our play on the free kicks, not to wait for the referee, and not to let them get set. That's exactly what he did. He didn't let them get set.
"He didn't let them get a player in the way. He took his free kick quickly. I thought we could take advantage there, but they came down and got another goal that deflated us again."
DiCarlo quickly snatched momentum back to Big Red's side after he was awarded a penalty shot when Indian Creek was called for a handball in the box. Price guessed left on the shot, but DiCarlo went right, and Big Red had a 5-1 lead.
Tyler Clevenger put a cap on the scoring when he took a beautiful pass from Alex Isla and sent it into the right side of the net for the 6-1 final.
Duff collected three saves in net for Big Red while Price turned away 12 shots for the Redskins.
Big Red hosts Cambridge Thursday while Indian Creek is off until Saturday when it hosts Tusky Valley.