In Ohio Cardinal Conference (OCC) boys’ soccer action from Millersburg on Sept. 14, West Holmes and Clear Fork were all knotted at zero at halftime.
The Knights and Colts seemed evenly matched at the break, as both teams had three shots on goal. The Knights squandered a pair of super-nice chances in the first half and the Colts got a nice look at the goal with under a minute to play in the first half that they also wasted.
Once the second half started the Knights came out of the break with a vengeance and with coach Dave Zimmerly’s adjustments in tow got three second half goals to send the Colts back to their stable with a 3-0 loss.
West Holmes (3-4, 1-2) got two second half goals from senior Zach Buchanan, one coming on a penalty kick, and another from fellow senior Landon Hawkins.
The win for the Knights was there first against Clear Fork since 2006, and their first ‘W’ of the season in the OCC.
Drew Campbell got the clean sheet in goal for the Knights as he picked up four saves on the night for West Holmes. The Knights’ defense played solid in front of Campbell and especially in the second half when the Colts couldn’t muster up anything against the Knights’ stingy back line.
“We’ve been playing a little looser the last few games, but we are also keeping the ball more,” said Zimmerly about the charge by his Knights in the second half. “I thought we came out of the half and executed very well.”
Goal-scorer Buchanan said Zimmerly put everyone in the right spots and gave his coach praise for making the correct halftime alterations.
“Coach (Zimmerly) gave us some good guidelines at halftime,” said Buchanan. “We’re still clicking into our positions and coach has been putting us in the right spots to knock the ball around a little easier. That helped us create more dangerous scoring opportunities.”
Buchanan got his PK attempt thanks to a slick ball that freshman Grant Miller served into the box. Buchanan corralled the pass, was hacked-down in the box, and was awarded the penalty kick just 2:30 into the second half. He buried it was utter confidence.
“I practice them quite a bit,” said Buchanan about his PK. “They are an important part of the game and that’s what gave us a boost when we went up 1-0.” (Video)
Knights lead Colts 1-0 on this Zach Buchanan PK with 37:27 left in 2nd half. pic.twitter.com/59ZgdYw0jz
— OhioSportsTicket.com (@OhioTicket) September 13, 2016
Almost ten minutes later, the Knights got another shot in the arm from Hawkins, who trucked down a Brady Campbell pass from the right back position and tucked it in the corner of the net for a 2-0 West Holmes’ lead.
Campbell, a junior, and senior Cody Woods recently moved back to the defense after playing most of the first West Holmes’ game in the midfield. Zimmerly said that move has added patience and control to his team’s attack.
“We slid Brady (Campbell) and Cody (Woods) back from outside midfielders to outside backs,” said Zimmerly. “It gives us more control with those two as outside backs because they are both very comfortable on the ball. They both do a great job of reading the play.”
Woods and Campbell along with the rest of the Knights’ defense that includes Tre Anderson, Eric Biltz and Slade Barnes, played a clean game and thwarted most of the Colts’ attack all night long.
Buchanan then capped the conference win for the Knights in the game’s 78th minute when he took on practically the entire Colts’ defense, who looked absolutely gassed, and ended it with a class finish and West Holmes’ third goal.
1. West Holmes’ freshman Tyler Masters once again turned in an impressive effort as he earns more and more time in Zimmerly’s lineup. Masters has a massive motor and can play any spot on the field. OCC take note, over the next three years Masters in going to be a thorn in your side.
2. The Knights showed some good depth against the Colts on Tuesday. Zimmerly marched several players onto the pitch including Cole Guerra, Alec Landon, Leonardo Calienno (video) and Javen Miller who rotated into the flow of the game effectively.
Leonardo Calienno bends a free-kick on goal, but CF goalkeeper corrals it. Knights still lead 2-0. pic.twitter.com/U1Tpv4B0mN
— OhioSportsTicket.com (@OhioTicket) September 14, 2016
3. The Knights have Orrville and Madison coming up on the OCC schedule next. This means they get a tad of relief after they had to take on the big boys in the OCC (Wooster and Lexington) right out of the gate. Zimmerly felt those are two games they can definitely compete in. If the Knights can pull off back-to-back wins against the Red Rider and Rams, they could move up to 3-2 in the conference.