SOUTH WEBSTER — The conditions were just right on Thursday for the South Webster Jeeps to get a much needed bounce-back win.
The Jeeps, now 4-3-3 after their 2-0 shutout victory over Waverly in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play, bested the Tigers to sweep their season series for the second-straight season — after joining the higher-division SOC at the start of the 2019 campaign.
“It was nice to get the win tonight,” Jeeps coach Corey Claxon said, following the game. “I knew that we matched up with Waverly well based on our last game, but I also knew we needed to get after it and play hard.”
South Webster needed to connect on just one of its six shots on goal in the shutout win, but managed two scoring chances past Waverly goalkeeper Aaron Haynes — both in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Waverly, which caught the Jeeps at a less-than-ideal time following their rare 6-1 defeat at the hands of Alexander, managed just four shots on goal to be held scoreless in the full 160 minutes the two squads have played this year.
Both teams were scoreless through the first 40 minutes, thanks in large part to an outstanding effort save(s) by Jeeps sophomore goalkeeper Jaren Lower.
Lower, who totaled four saves on each of the Tigers’ four shots on goal, made two successive saves in the final 30 seconds to keep things tied — and give South Webster a boost of confidence entering the second half.
“Jaren made a big save late to keep it scoreless in the last seconds of the half,” Claxon said. “It was a scary moment, but he did his job and he was excited about it at the half, along with the rest of us.”
With South Webster on the attack for most of the first half, it seemed as if it would only be a matter of time before it would capitalize.
Then, with a perfectly-placed ball that he soft-touched before shooting under Haynes, Jeeps sophomore Connor Bender broke the scoreless tie in the sixth minute of the second half.
Less than five minutes later, in the 10th minute, South Webster was awarded a penalty kick after Waverly was called for a handball in its own goalbox.
Jeeps junior Trae Zimmerman took the ball for the penalty shot and promptly fired into the right side of the net past Haynes, giving South Webster a 2-0 lead over its guests with over 30 minutes to play.
South Webster’s defense didn’t slip with its narrow advantage, either.
Instead, it continued course and helped Lower and their team as a whole earn their fourth shutout of the season.
“He (Bender) had a perfect first touch that set him out in front for a one-on-one vs. the keeper. He kept it low and slipped it under the charging keeper,” Claxon said. “We eventually got a penalty kick on a Waverly handball and Trae stepped up to the line to make it 2-0. From that point on, we held on to the lead and our defense and Jaren got the shutout.”
South Webster will host Wheelersburg on Tuesday (Sept. 29) in a key Southern Ohio Conference Division II game versus the unbeaten Pirates.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved