For the second straight season, the Valley Indians were able to score two second half goals to rally and defeat the Clay Panthers in their sectional soccer matchup Monday night, 2-1.
The game began as a very back and forth affair as both teams fought for possession, attempting to create scoring opportunities for themselves.
At the 15:51 mark of the first half, with the game tied 0-0, Valley committed a foul against Clay, setting up a Panthers free kick from just outside the penalty box. Bryce Toomire lined up the kick and was able to find the back of the net to give his team the 1-0 lead. The score would remain that leading into the halftime whistle where the Indians knew they would need to rally if they were to overtake a second straight 1-0 halftime deficit in the sectional matchups with Clay.
Coming into the second half, Valley began playing with a sense of urgency. The result? At the 24:19 mark of the half, Indians junior Cameron Phillips delivered an incredible slow arching shot that found the top right corner of the goal to tie things up at 1-1.
Just over five minutes later, at the 18:43 mark, things would take a turn for the worse for Clay when the ball would bounce off one of their defenders back foots and found the back of the net to give the Panthers an own goal and allow Valley to take a 2-1 lead in the contest.
Although their efforts were extremely evident in their attempted comeback, Valley would do a nice job holding off Clay’s scoring opportunities to ultimately seal the win in favor of the Indians on their home field.
“Give credit to them, they’ve got a good team” said Indians head coach Andy Johnson following his team’s 2-1 victory, “We always play pretty competitive games, and I’m proud of our guys for fighting back after getting down in the first half. It felt like we played pretty well, we just gave up that free kick in the first half. Other than that, I thought our defense played pretty solid tonight.”
The Indians will advance to their sectional semifinal matchup where they will face the winner of Tuesday night’s contest between West Union and Northwest on the Indians home field on Wednesday evening because of the way the rain has affected the field at Roy Rogers Stadium on Northwest’s campus.
“They’re always a good team” said Johnson when speaking of the Mohawks, assuming they are able to defeat the Dragons Tuesday night, “We played them earlier in the year, but it was our second game of the season, so I know a lot changes. But we’ll be ready to go. Our kids are excited, and we’re a fairly young team still. More than half our starters are freshman and sophomores. But they’ve gotten experience this year and they’re ready to go.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT