Soccer seniors enjoy one final fling on the pitch in Boys Tri-County Senior All-Star Game

GiaVanni Himes

The annual Boys and Girls Tri-County Senior All-Star games took place at Orrville High School on Nov. 9. Despite a cold and very windy evening, the seniors showcased their talents and put on an excellent show as the team from the Wayne County Athletic League squared off with the crew from the Tri-County All-Stars.

In the nightcap of the evening, the boys took the field and put on a terrifically entertaining performance that saw the all-stars from the WCAL creep to within one with eight minutes to play before the Tri-County All-Stars scored late to pull out a 4-2 win.

The WCAL gang included Norwayne seniors Joey Bechtel, Gavin Stika and Isaac Klingman; Chippewa’s Nick Zack and Justin Fazenbaker; Smithville’s Justin Gerber, Jeremy Woodarski and Nate Lowe; Northwestern’s Quinn Garver, Hunter Stidham and Brandon Fiest; Rittman’s Will Swartz, Allan Mackey and Brandon Leyva; Loudonville’s Dillon Portz, Tomas Sanchez and Hunter Martin; and Waynedale’s Andy Ford and Justin Orr.

The Tri-County All-Stars were represented by West Holmes’ Slade Barnes, Brady Campbell and Teddy Oliver; Hiland’s Kyle Mast, Jerome Watson and Sam Raber; Wooster’s Julien Lubell, Cesar Ayala and Joe Monastra; Orrville’s Brady Eyler, Sam Horsburgh and Hugo Amezua; Kingsway Christian’s GiaVanni Himes, Matthew Misch and Eric Wade; Triway’s Nick Allison, Arthur Hart and Parker Miller; and Central Christian’s Micah Mullet, Ben Troyer and John Lowe. The trio of Comets were unavailable because they were still in Columbus following their 1-0 state semifinal loss.

When the action got underway, it took awhile for either team to generate a score, although the Tri-County team dominated possession early.

Eventually Allison got the scoring under way by taking in a pass from Eyler and slamming it home for a 1-0 lead.

It took WCAL All-Stars about 30 seconds to answer when Ford got loose on the right side and drove from midfield to the right side of the net before his crossing shot found its destination in goal for an equalizer.

It was a special moment for Ford, who missed the final month of the season with an appendectomy.

“This is my first game back since then, so it was a lot of fun,” Ford said of the game. “It’s been a while since I played, and the first 10 minutes I thought my lungs were going to burst. But it was really great to get back and to play with all of these guys we have battled with for our careers.”

The Tri-County All-Stars took a 2-1 lead off a corner when the ball was knocked out from in front of the net to around the 18, where Mast was able to somehow get on top of a high bouncing ball and drive a low burner that glanced off a WCAL defender and into the back of the net.

Mast was instrumental in the next score when he ran down a ball in the left corner and rifled a beautiful cross to the front of the net, where Hart became the second Titan to score by finding the left side of the goal to make it 3-1. Both teams then locked down defensively until there was eight minutes to play, and Smithies’ Gerber scored to put some real excitement into the final few minutes.

However, with three minutes to play, Oliver sealed the Tri-County All-Stars’ victory by crushing a slick shot to the lower-left 90 to produce the game’s final goal.

“That was a lot of fun. It was a great game, and it was nice to finish off my career with a goal at the end,” Oliver said.

Monastra dominated the middle of the field, and he said it was enjoyable to finish his high school career with the All-Star Game.

“It’s good to get together and play with guys who I actually played with a lot growing up as kids,” Monastra said. “It was cool because most of us have played against each other in high school, and we kind of know each other’s games, at least a little bit. It’s a nice way to cap off our senior year.”

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