The Sandy Valley boys soccer program is in its infancy, as it just recently changed from club status to a legitimate OHSAA program. That was of little consequence, however, when the Cardinals faced Hiland and absorbed a 13-0 beat down in the sectional semi-final Monday in Berlin.
The Cardinals had defeated Caldwell in their sectional opener, and for a fledgling program didn’t look out of place, just over matched by the second-seeded Hawks.
Historically speaking, the first game of the tournament has often been a laugher, and by the score this one may have been, but in talking to some of the Hiland players, Sandy Valley has something to look forward to in the future, because the structure of the game was intact. The point wasn’t missed by Hiland head coach Scott Bodiker, either.
“Despite the score I was generally impressed with their organization,” said Bodiker. “They seem to be well coached, they just need to get more experience. They are young, so I see better things for them in the future.”
But the bright future wasn’t able to help the young Cardinals this night, as the well-oiled Hawks were still able to have their way on the pitch.
For the second consecutive game Hiland was able to get on the board inside the first minute, as Jared Yoder soared high to score on a corner header only 30 seconds in. Braden Mast’s volley off of a Yoder corner just over a minute later gave the Hawks an early 2-0 lead. Goals by strikers Sinjon Howell and Derek Miller gave Hiland a 4-0 advantage at the break.
The second half was a repeat of the first, as the hungry Hawks came out firing on all cylinders and Declan Howell found the back of the net a mere 23 seconds into the period. Yoder made it 6-0 only a minute in and things deteriorated quickly from there as Hiland saw ten different players notch a goal on the night. Jared Yoder, Sinjon Howell and Derek Miller each scored twice for the Hawks, as Grant Gingerich, Michael Miller and Jerome Watson also tallied their firsts of the season.
With the win, Hiland advances to the sectional final Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., when they host #5 seed Harrison Central, which had defeated #6 Edison to meet the Hawks for the title.
Hiland also faces cross-county rival West Holmes in a makeup game Tuesday at Millersburg with the JV game at 5 p.m. and the varsity following.