Saturday, February 24, 2024

Injuries hurt Creek boys against Potters

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WINTERSVILLE — The effort is there, however, the numbers are not.

The Indian Creek boys soccer team has been plagued by injuries so far this season, and the team dealt with even more injuries during its match Monday evening against East Liverpool as the Redskins had two players on the girls soccer team to help fill in the voids.

The Potters scored four goals in the first half and did not look back en route to a 6-0 victory at Kettlewell Stadium in the first game of a boys’ and girls’ doubleheader.

Indian Creek’s freshman goalie Joseph Diggs got banged up with about seven minutes left, and the game was called with 6:47 still showing on the scoreboard clock.

“We only have 11 players,” Indian Creek (1-6) head coach Danny Lawrence, who is also the head coach of the girls’ team, said. “We had two girls play, so we could have some subs.

“The kids play really well until they get overly tired. You can only play three halves in a day. We played one in one half and one in the other, but we had another kid get hurt again. It was like our sixth injury in two games.

“We are short in numbers, and we are dealing with a lot of injuries. It is something that can’t be helped.

“They are trying. They are playing hard. They are giving me everything they have got. They give me everything, but then they get tired. They get worn out. They give me everything they have. That speaks to their character. They are facing an adverse situation, but they are still playing hard.”

Ayden Wright tallied four goals to lead the way offensively for the Blue-and-White.

“The big thing is this team has scored first in a lot of games, but then we drop down,” East Liverpool (4-6-1) head coach Chase Hilliard said. “Our motto for the rest of the season is ‘bury them.’ If we score first, we have to keep going. We can’t slow down. We can’t stop. Being up 1-0, is not good enough.”

Preston Kerr and Maddox Roach also recorded goals for the boys from Columbiana County.

“We have Ayden Wright, Preston Kerr and Elijah Suznevich up top,” Hilliard said. “When they are connecting together, they are hard to stop. It is just an issue of how long does it take for them to get flowing.”

The victors contributed a pair of goals in the second half to complete the scoring.

“No. 1 (Wright) is pretty fast,” Lawrence said. “He’s the fastest kid in 4A. He may be the fastest kid in the whole conference, but I don’t know about the other classes.”

The two teams met in the sectional tournament last season out at Indian Creek, and the Potters came out on top in that match as well.

“Today, was really different,” Hilliard said. “They lost a good bit. Our kids never stopped.

“Last year, we won, but then we got knocked out in the second round. This year, our goal is to make it beyond the second round of the tournament.”

The Redskins battled the Potters Monday, but the numbers game was too much to overcome against a talented East Liverpool team.

“It is tough,” Hilliard said. “It is rough when you start with 11. I saw film of them against Weir, and they had 12. They had to borrow some players from the girls’ team today. You do what you have to do.”

The boys from Jefferson County were forced to play a lot of defense Monday evening.

“They are well coached,” Lawrence said. “They know what they are doing.

“Who knows what would have happened if I had my full complement of players. It is a case of what if? It’s just what if? We are just taking it day to day.

“I pulled them off. We were down to nine. You can play with eight, but we weren’t going to play with that. I know the rule is seven. I may get negative comments from people, but it is my team. We practice with eight, but it is not a good thing.”

East Liverpool is scheduled to play Thursday at Brooke. Thursday is the cutoff day for teams to qualify for the annual OVAC Tournament. The Potters entered their match against the Redskins in seventh place in the Class 4A standings.

“We are right on the bubble,” Hilliard said. “I think we need to get a result against Brooke to be in.”

The top six in Class 5A and in Class 4A make it to the tournament. The top four teams in Class 1A/3A make it.

“It does not mean as much because they take the top of the six and there are eight teams,” Hilliard said. “For us, it would mean a lot to finish first or second.”

Indian Creek’s next scheduled match is at 1 p.m. Sept. 30 out at Coshocton.

With the completion of the boys’ match, Lawrence had to quickly turn his attention to the his girls’ teams game against Cambridge.

“I still have to change my mind from this,” Lawrence said. “The girls need this result. I was not negative until we got the injuries. It is the same old thing. I have to get into the right mindset.”

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