St.C., Creek girls end scoreless

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — While Wes Stoner and Joe Lewis certainly would’ve liked to have seen their teams win their prep girls’ soccer season opener Friday night, both head coaches still came away encouraged.

St. Clairsville and Indian Creek both crafted numerous scoring opportunities, but neither team was able to cash in, resulting in a scoreless tie in the finale of the OHSAA/Columbus Crew SC ”Friday Night Futbol” doubleheader at Red Devil Stadium.

”You hit a crossbar, you hit a post; their goalie played really well,” Stoner said of Redskins netminder Mackenzie Orbin. ”You have to give credit to their defense. They had a good gameplan, especially against Alyssa (Otto). And, also against our team as a whole.

”They put a lot of people back and defended. They did it very well.”

Orbin and the Indian Creek defense were severely tested during the match’s final 20 minutes, and it was Otto, St.C.’s talented junior, that, again, tested the Redskins’ mettle.

With about five minutes remaining and darkness having descended, Otto got loose and let fly with a shot from about 20 yards away. As it started to drop toward the net, it hit the crossbar and bounced back, leaving Lewis breathing a sigh of relief.

”Last year, we went into halftime, I believe, winning,” he said. ”And, in the second half, Alyssa single handedly beat us.

”Our girls knew that (Friday night). They knew who the shooter was and (St. Clairsville) fed Alyssa all night. We knew they were going to and we put our fastest defensive mids on her and they just tied her up.”

A little more than a minute after Otto almost gave the Red Devils the lead, she gave Indian Creek another scare. This time, she juked her way around a defender and got off a shot that flew just to the left of the net.

The Redskins tried their own last-moment heroics.

With time running out, speedy Kelsey Lewis stole the ball away at midfield and raced down the right sideline. She drove in toward the net, but her shot was offline.

”Our defense was good, too,” Stoner said. ”It’s a little bit of a new system for us and we have a lot of new players with five freshmen starting, so it was good to get their feet wet like this.

I told them there’s no ‘L’ next to our name yet so I’ll take the tie, absolutely.”

Stoner took away many positives from the deadlock, those he believes will benefit his squad down the road.

”Ball movement and our defending were just two, in my opinion,” he said. ”We got a lot of good shots, they just didn’t go in.

”A few just went wide, but that’s how the game goes sometimes.”

Lewis stayed equally positive, pointing to the endurance of his team, of which a handful of players stayed on the field for the full 80 minutes.

”It was a battle,” he said. ”Both sides. For the first game out, I think both teams battled. It was an awesome match.”

The Red Devils go for their first victory Wednesday at Cambridge.