Golden Eagles, Pacers battle to 0-0 deadlock in boys soccer
By ERIC CLINE
For The Sunbury News
The most perplexing thing about a scoreless tie in any sport is the general public’s belief that nothing happened in the game, but there was plenty going on at Gauthier Field Tuesday. There just weren’t any goals scored.
The defenses were the heroes in the Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division match between visiting Big Walnut and host Hayes, but despite several good attempts at the net, the match still ended in a 0–0 tie.
“We dinged the post enough,” Big Walnut coach Brett Weiss said. “We gave it a good shot at scoring, but neither of us could get through. It was just a typical Delaware-Big Walnut battle. We got exactly what I thought we’d get.”
“We both created opportunities, though I’d say they had more of the swing opportunities in the first half,” Hayes coach Nate Weakland said. “Free kicks were dangerous for both sides, and obviously that’s where most opportunities were coming from.”
Defensively, both Hayes (2–1-1, 1–0-1 OCC Capital) and Big Walnut (3–1-1, 0–1-1 OCC Capital) had nothing to complain about. Both teams stepped up and stopped chances when they needed.
Hayes, with veterans like senior Jordan Carlson and junior Bryan Neitzelt, were strong all the way through, and senior goalkeeper Tommy Gibbs faced six shots on goal on the night and saved them all.
“We’re playing very well as a unit defensively,” Weakland said. “We have a couple young guys back there who stepped it up and Tommy did really well coming off his line. He’s starting to become more aggressive, which is what we need him to do.”
But Big Walnut was just as strong, featuring a solid presence on the back line from juniors Brayden Dronsfield and Dominic Zumpone, accompanied by a sterling evening from junior goalkeeper Tyler Sholl, who saved all five shots Hayes put on net.
“My guys adjusted,” Weiss said. “They haven’t been playing too long back there, but in the second half they adjusted and we started winning that initial push, and that made it easier for us.”
Big Walnut’s best chances came in a flurry late in the first half, when sophomore defenseman Noah Gibson’s corner kick found Foor, who blasted a shot in and out of Gibbs’ arms. Another Golden Eagle sent the rebound up off the crossbar, and the rebound came out to senior forward Ethan Green, who sent another shot on that was swallowed up by Gibbs.
Hayes’ first scoring chance came just four minutes later, when Carlson sent a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box on net, only to have Sholl make a leaping save.
About nine minutes later, senior midfielder Phoenix Neitzelt found the ball in the middle of the 18 and ripped a shot toward goal, only to have Big Walnut’s Gibson turn it away.
Hayes finished with 14 shots to Big Walnut’s 13, but both teams had six shots on goal, with Gibson adding his non-keeper save in the second half. Big Walnut held a 3–2 edge in corner kicks.
BIG WALNUT 4, TEAYS VALLEY 1 — The Golden Eagles pulled away from a 1–1 halftime deadlock with three second-half goals en route to handing the host Vikings’ their first loss of the season in Saturday’s non-conference matchup at Ashville.
Big Walnut (4–1-1) put the game away in the second half, scoring 2 goals in a 5-minute span. Bobby Bogantz sent a corner kick to Shane Facemyer, who shot from the 6-yard box to give the Golden Eagles a 2–1 lead. Austin Foor took a wicked dipping shot from 22 yards, a shot the Teays Valley keeper did well to stop, but the ball rebounded back out to a streaking Luke Hartings who tapped it in for the third goal and a 3–1 advantage.
With time winding down Facemyer took a shot from 20 yards, a shot which glanced off a Viking defender’s head and into the Teays Valley goal as he attempted to clear the ball for the 4–1 final.
Teays Valley (4–1-0) took an early 1–0 lead as the Vikings’ Tom Kiefer scored from 8 yards out after two Big Walnut defenders lost control of the ball in front of their own goal. The Golden Eagles came back to tie the game at 1–1 four minutes later as Facemyer picked up a loose ball following a corner kick and placed a left-footed shot from 15 yards into the lower right corner of the net.
Tyler Sholl was once again had a solid second half, recording his 2 saves towards the end of play in the final. Teays Valley totaled 6 shots on goal, 1 come in the first half and 5 in the second half. Big Walnut held a 22–6 advantage in shots on goal while Teays Valley claimed an 8–6 edge on corner kicks. Bogantz, Facemyer and Foor recorded assists for the Golden Eagles.