Give me a silent K…
Give me a silent N…
Give me a silent I…
It was the goal that nobody cheered for that turned out to be the deciding factor in the West Holmes girls soccer team’s 1-0 victory over West Muskingum.
Play at the River View Labor Day Showcase kicked off extremely early in the morning on Monday, Sept. 3, and while it may have been too early for some to get up and attend, it was a thrilling way to begin a sensational day of soccer.
The West Holmes Lady Knights squared off with a very solid West Muskingum team, and the two sides battled for 80 minutes with only a lone goal from Lady Knight Abby Callahan to show for their efforts.
“They were a very well organized team,” said West Holmes coach Josh Wengerd of the Muskies.
The game was 0-0 most of the way, with not a lot of good goal opportunities apparent for either team.
But with just 4:09 left to play in the contest, Callahan stepped up and scored the only goal for the win, advancing the Lady Knights to 4-2-0 on the season.
Callahan may have scored the game-winner with time dwindling, but it would have been hard to tell from the reaction of everyone at the field, whether it was the players, coaching staff or fans.
Callahan actually got her goal while serving as the initiator on a corner kick from the left side of the goal. She fired the kick inside, and the ball immediately came right back out to her. Callahan proved she knew what to do with it once she got it, crushing a shot into the right corner as she was running toward the penalty box.
“It was probably the most lackluster goal ever… nobody was sure if it was a goal or an offside call,” said Wengerd of the game-winner. “Even Abby wasn’t sure and didn’t celebrate and the fans were all quiet until the official signaled goal.”
West Holmes held a slight advantage in shots at 14-8, and led 7-0 on corner kicks.
“It was a pretty evenly played match,” said Wengerd. “West M has a 1-3 record, but they played much better than that would indicate.”
Lady Knights keeper Shelby Harris ended with eight saves, to five for West Muskingum.
The early morning game was a tremendous kick-off to the day’s festivities, with plenty of great soccer following the tight contest.
“We were honored just to be considered to play in this great event, and even happier to get a win,” said Wengerd. “David Kridler is the head coach at River View and is a mentor of sorts to me, so it meant a lot to be asked to participate in this event, which saw teams from four states, and some of the best talent in Ohio as well. We were given a game ball as a winner, and awarded two players of the game, which went to Courtney Kozak and Abby Callahan.”
A few days earlier against Mansfield Madison, the Lady Knights were not fortunate enough to escape with a victory, falling to the Rams 2-0.
“This was a match where we came out a little stale, a bit flat,” said Wengerd. “We got scored on early, in the first three minutes. We were beaten to most 50-50 balls, and we were not moving well off the ball in the first half. We did have some looks in the first half, but were unable to score.”
Madison got their second goal with 19 minutes left in the first half off a corner kick, which was headed into the back of the goal past Harris and the Lady Knights defense.
“After the second goal, the girls woke up a bit and we started to play better,” said Wengerd. “I thought if we could have got one in before the half, we would have created some momentum to build off of in the second half, but that was not to be the case.”
Wengerd said the Lady Knights did play much better in the second half, dominating much of the action, but the only place that truly matters in the game, on the scoreboard, their side of the ledger remained firmly entrenched on zero. “We were aggressive, perhaps a bit too much so, as we were called offside multiple times,” said Wengerd. “Statistically, we won the game. We outshot Madison 10-4, we had the advantage in corner kicks 5-1, but unfortunately we just couldn’t find the back of the net.”
The loss moved the Lady Knights to 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.
The junior varsity also lost 3-0, and their record now stands at 1-3-0 (0-2-0 in OCC play).