On Thursday night, the Wheelersburg Pirates hosted a double header at Ed Miller Stadium. The Lady Pirates defeated the Fairland Dragons 7-0 in the first leg of the double header, and SOC I favorite, the South Webster Jeeps, got a road victory against the Pirates by a score of 2-0.
Lady Dragons 0 Lady Pirates 7
In the night’s first game, the Lady Pirates started off on a slow note by their standards. The team that has not lost a regular season match in over 50 matches only led at halftime 2-0. Wheelersburg’s two first half goals would come from Kristin Risner at the 19:21 mark and Libby Miller at the 3:20 mark, but these two would stop their scoring efforts there on a hot Thursday evening.
Miller would have her second goal of the night in the first minute of the second half at the 39:01 mark. Risner would score her second goal just under ten minutes after Miller’s second at the 29:05 mark of the half.
Already having two goals on the night, Miller was determined to keep up her scoring efforts as the match progressed. She would go on to score her third, fourth, and fifth goals of the match in not even a seven minute span against the Lady Dragons defense at the 25:14, 20:30, and 18:36 marks in the second half. The Lady Pirates would let off the gas after Miller’s last goal, giving them the home victory by a score of 7-0.
Lady Pirates head coach Todd Jarvis was happy with his team’s ability to really turn up their performance once the second half started. “Fairland does a really good job of preparing, and they have some good players” said Jarvis, “But yes we did have a bit of a slow start. We knocked it right at their keeper a few times and their keeper made a few good saves. We just made a couple of personality changes in the second half. It kind of felt like we were just going through the motions in the first half, but then we really came out and played in that second half.”
Jarvis also discussed how important Miller’s play and senior leadership have been to his team. “Senior leadership, four year starter, Libby’s done a great job” said Jarvis, “She’s a really relentless attacker with endless energy. She really brings an amazing dynamic to the group. We’ve got some really good offensive juggernauts up front with Kristin Risner, Libby, Laney Eller, and Ellie Kallner. We were countering to score, and we finally were able to do that. Libby was one of those players we talked to at half and challenged her to step up and she did that, so that’s good to see.”
The Lady Pirates will next face the Minford Falcons next Tuesday night on Minford’s home pitch with play beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Jeeps 2 Pirates 0
The second match of the season between South Webster and Wheelersburg was a much closer affair than the 7-1 Jeeps victory at South Webster earlier in the season. The Pirates were much improved defensively in this rematch but were ultimately unable to keep the relentless Jeeps attackers off the scoreboard, falling to the SOC I powerhouse by a score of 2-0.
The Jeeps first goal of the game came early on in Thursday night’s match as senior Shiloah Blevins found the back of the net with 36:17 left in the first half.
This score would remain 1-0 for the majority of the match as Wheelersburg was unable to capitalize on any of their scoring attempts for the night, in part due to the speed of the Jeeps back line defenders. South Webster head coach Corey Claxon was very impressed with the defense his team showcased not only in this match, but also against the Minford Falcons Tuesday night in their 7-0 victory. “I’m just really happy with the way we’ve been coming together, especially our defense” said Claxon, “Our defense has done a great job with the shutouts this week. They faced some pressure, but were able to cover for each other, so I’m just really pleased with our defensive effort tonight.”
The Jeeps second goal of the night came just over halfway through the second half at the 19:57 mark from Ty Collins who was assisted by Michael Andrews and Sam Holstein, giving the Jeeps the 2-0 lead and what would ultimately be the final score of Thursday night’s match.
Pirates head coach Jon Estep was pleased to see the differences in his team’s progress from the first match against South Webster in which they lost 7-1, and their second match and the resulting score. “We knew what they had coming in, obviously the fire power that they have across the field” said Estep, “I thought defensively we challenged our guys this week throughout practice. We learned from film some of the stuff we did wrong the last time we faced this team, made some adjustments as far as personnel wise. I thought our guys did an outstanding job back there tonight. I think after that second goal we got tired, we fatigued out that last part of the second half. Unfortunately, against a team like that, you can’t fatigue out.”
Although the Pirates were defeated by the Jeeps, this loss will not hurt their chances at the very competitive SOC II title this season. Since the Northwest Mohawks defeated the Minford Falcons Thursday night by a score of 3-2, the Pirates are sitting in a good spot for their chances at the SOC title. “From the outcome that we just heard of Minford getting beat by Northwest, we’re sitting tied at the top of the standings” said Estep, “We get to control our own destiny. Our biggest challenge is that we have to go on the road. We’ve had Minford, Waverly, and Northwest here. Now we get to go on the road and see how bad we want it.”
The Pirates will travel with the Lady Pirates to face the Minford Falcons in a rematch of the first game between these two teams that ended in a 1-1 tie at Ed Miller Stadium. The boys’ match will begin following the conclusion of the girls’ match.
The Jeeps will next travel to Chillicothe to face Zane Trace Saturday night at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT