The Crusaders converted two corner kicks into goals against Minford at VA Memorial Stadium on Saturday, providing the difference in a 3-2 Division III District Championship victory. Prior to the game-winning goal in the 62nd minute, the Falcons' Justin Aeh tied the game at 2 on an assist from Keenan Havens.
“I feel like our offense knew where we needed to be,” said Minford coach Teresa Havens. “They talked to each other, they tried to talk to the midfield, and they tried to make things happen. Sometimes, the ball just fell the wrong way. We had the shots, we had the opportunities. Unfortunately, it didn't go in our favor this time.”
The Falcons got on the board first, as Cody Warren scored on an assist from Keenan Havens less than eight minutes into the game. That goal would stand for most of the first half, until Central Catholic's Danny Fischer put the Crusaders on the board with 4:40 left in the half.
Central Catholic would take the lead 2-1 on Jake Lucas' goal from Dan Weiss' corner kick at 38:57. Aeh's goal would tie the score nearly 20 minutes later, but the Crusaders would put the game away on Johnny Herrmann's goal in the 62nd minute, Lucas providing the assist on a corner kick.
Minford would get a few chances to send the game to overtime, but Central Catholic's defense, led by goalkeeper Lou Dipiero, would keep the Falcons at bay. The defensive play would be a theme, as Minford played solidly as well.
“Our defense played great all year,” said Minford defender Cody Bond, a senior. “We had some unlucky plays, and that cost us, but we played great all year. Our offense helped us, and we have just been strong all season.”
“That's one thing I can say about the offense and the defense on this team,” said coach Havens. “We don't have anyone that just lays down. The whole team knows that every single ball is important, and I think everybody tries to hold their position and plays the ball the best they can. I haven't seen one single quitter on this team, ever.”
The loss ends Minford's season at 10-5-4. The win improves Catholic Central's record to 12-6, and ensures the team of a berth in the regional tournament at Philo. After the game, Crusaders' coach Steve Kopcha applauded his team's performance, especially after the Falcons tied the game.
“That is something we have told our guys all season,” he said. “If we ever get scored on, we want to try to get it back as soon as possible. We want to try to respond, and we don't want stay in a hole for very long. Today, we did an excellent job of being able to rebound and counter the goals that they had against us.”
JOSH HICKLE can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 241.
SCC 1 2 - 3
Minford 1 1 - 2
First Half - 1, Minford, Cody Warren (Keenan Havens), 32:08; 2, SCC, Danny Fischer (una.), 4:40.
Second Half - 1, SCC, Jake Lucas (Dan Weiss corner kick), 38:57; 2, Minford, Justin Aeh (Keenan Havens), 60th minute; 3, Johnny Herrmann (Jake Lucas corner kick), 62nd minute.
Records - Minford 10-5-4, Steubenville Central Catholic 12-6.