Central boys’ early start, strong finish nets win

STEUBENVILLE — The Catholic Central boys’ soccer team got off to a hot start Tuesday evening, collecting two goals less than four minutes into its match against rival Indian Creek.

The Crusaders went on to defeat the Redskins 7-1 at the Tony Recinella Soccer Field after leading 4-0 at halftime.

“It was a good start in that we were able to score goals, but it was not a good start in terms of the way we played and possessed the ball,” Catholic Central (6-1) head coach Steve Kopcha said. “Indian Creek came out and played very hard as we expected. They did a very good job. They outplayed us in the first half except we were able to score some goals.”

Indian Creek (2-8) head coach Chuck Brettell disagrees, feeling his team played better in the second half after a slow start.

“Catholic Central is a very good team,” he said. “We chewed them out. My assistant coach, my son, read them the riot act, and they responded. I’m proud of the way they played in the second half. They never quit. The effort was good.”

Tom Beigel tallied a hat trick to lead the way offensively for the Crusaders. Mikey Irvin netted two goals and dished out an assist, while Kolbe Rice recorded a goal and an assist. Juan Miguel Gonzalez scored a goal, while Ethan Moore, Joe Zinno and Joe Kuebler all delivered an assist. Travis Shore made two saves in goal.

The Crusaders scored multiple goals off of headers.

“That is something we have been trying to work on,” Kopcha said. “We want to be dangerous in the air as we are on the ground. We want to vary the way we attack. We want to try and create in different ways. It is making a difference; we just don’t want to attack one way.”

Ensign Maiarano netted the lone goal for the Redskins off of an assist by Gunnar Brettell. Trevor Takach made nine saves in goal.

“They just have so many guys who can score,” Brettell said. “They have so many guys who play well. They play together. They just have so many talented guys.

“Steve is a class act. That is what I told him after the game. He played a lot of kids against us, and he didn’t have to do that. He’s all class. I have got nothing but respect for him.”

The Crusaders forced the Redskins to play defense for the majority of the game. Catholic Central outshot Indian Creek 26-3.

“I don’t have a striker who has scored a varsity goal,” Brettell said. “I’m playing three young kids up there. They are getting better. They almost scored a goal in the second half. They are working hard. I saw improvement from them in this game. We are going to keep improving.”

Indian Creek is a young team this season with 11 sophomores on the roster.

“They did pretty much what they normally do,” Kopcha said. “It was a game between two close teams. It is a competitive rivalry. We expected them to come out and play hard, and they did. They have some nice guys who were able to create some opportunities for them.”

Catholic Central outscored Indian Creek, 3-1, in the second half.

“They just play good fundamental soccer,” Brettell said. “There’s nothing gimmicky. There’s nothing fancy. They just have so many good players. They are a really good team. They play clean. They play aggressive. They are good year in and year out.”

Both teams are scheduled to play Thursday at home. Indian Creek is scheduled to play Buckeye 8 rival Beaver Local at 5 p.m., while Catholic Central will play Harrison Central at 5:30 p.m.