LUCASVILLE – According to coach Andy Johnson, two things that the Valley Indians have struggled at to begin the 2019 season are passing and finishing.
With their 5-1 win over the Rock Hill Redmen Thursday in Lucasville, Valley improved to 4-1-1 on the year while scoring their second highest goal total in a win this year (six goals scored vs. Ironton St. Joe last week) by doing those very two things at an overly-efficient level.
“I liked that we moved the ball around well tonight,” Johnson said following the Indians win Thursday. “That’s something that we’ve been working on a lot in practice, being able to hold possession. I thought we did well with that. We’ve had trouble finding the back of the net, so it was nice to be able to do that early and take some pressure off our guys.”
Valley scored the game’s first two goals in the very early stages of the first half. Sophomore Austin Sommers scored the game’s first goal at the 36:00 mark of the first half, a goal that was assisted by A.J. Johnson. Just three minutes later, senior Isaac Slack began his scoring outburst in Thursday’s game with an unassisted goal to put Valley up 2-0, the score that would remain throughout the rest of the first half.
At the 37:00 mark of the second half, a free ball bounced off an Indians defender’s head and into the Valley net bringing the score to 2-1 Indians after the own goal gave Rock Hill a shot.
After scoring his first goal at the 33:00 mark of the first half, Slack decided one wasn’t enough.
The senior scored his second goal, this one assisted by Johnson, at the 28:00 mark of the second half, and his third goal, unassisted, at the 24:00 mark of the second half giving him his first career hat trick at the varsity level.
“I was just excited,” Slack said, “That’s my first hat trick, so to be able to get one is really exciting. We played hard, we fought hard as a team, and we were able to get it done.”
“This is a great group of kids. Man they work hard, and I’m really happy for them,” Johnson added. “We’re right where we need to be, but we need to keep getting better.”
The last goal of the game would come at the 19:00 mark of the second half when Davey Petry found the back of the net on a goal assisted by Sommers.
Valley takes the weekend off before travelling to Minford Tuesday for a non-league game with the Falcons. Before that, Johnson wants to continue seeing his team improve the things they showcased they were able to do Thursday.
“We’ve just got to keep pushing the ball up the field, possessing the ball, and take advantage of our opportunities,” Johnson said. “Not taking advantage of our scoring opportunities has kind of been our henderence this year. We’re playing very well defensively, so if the offense keeps coming around, we’ll be where we want to be.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved