CALCUTTA - The pounding paid off for the Beavers.
The Beaver Local boys' soccer team fired shot after shot at East Liverpool Saturday night, but the Potters were up to the challenge. Finally, the Beavers scored a pair of goals less than two minutes apart in the second half to pull out a hard-fought 3-1 victory under the lights Saturday night against the visiting Potters on Senior Night.
With the win, Beaver Local improves to 7-5 on the season. With the loss, East Liverpool drops to 3-6-1.
Beaver Local’s Austin Taylor looks to get past East Liverpool’s C.J. Harris on Saturday. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
"It wasn't pretty, but we got the win," first-year Beaver Local boys' head coach Mike Hilliard said. "Tonight was more about playing as individuals than as a team. We did not play well as a team."
Though his team came out on the short end of things, first-year East Liverpool head coach Zack Kinsey said he was proud of the effort his players gave throughout the game.
"We battled," he said. "The kids gave 110 percent the entire game. They showed a lot of heart and a lot of courage.
"We were tied with 19 minutes left to play in the game. We hung in there. I can't say how proud I am. Our goalie Kevin Bankes made 18 saves. He made some amazing saves. Our defense played amazing."
Offensively, Brian Jackson netted a pair of goals to lead the way for the Beavers. DeShawn Parker also recorded a goal. Garrett Speelman tallied the lone assist for Beaver Local.
Jackson opened the score with a goal with 25:59 left to play in the first half to put the Beavers up 1-0.
The lead didn't last long.
The Potters gained possession of the ball, and one of the Beaver players was called for a foul, and East Liverpool was awarded a direct kick. Freshman Klayton Kosek took the kick, and he launched a shot from long range over the head of Beaver Local goalie Brandon Fetty and into the back of the net to even the game at 1 with 25:10 remaining to be played in the first half.
The game remained deadlocked until there was less than 17 minutes left to play in the game.
Jackson scored his second goal of the game to break the tie to give the Beavers a 2-1 advantage with 16:54 left to play to in the game.
Then, Parker scored an insurance goal with 15:03 left to play to make it 3-1.
With the win, the Beavers earned the season sweep against the Potters. Beaver Local defeated East Liverpool early in the season in a game played at Mangano Field.
"They didn't do too much different," Kinsey said. "We made some adjustments on defense that helped out a lot. We have been preaching defense all year.
"The kids keep getting better. We have shown a huge improvement over the past few years. We keep improving. We are getting better every game. The kids are getting better. We have a young team, and we are going to keep getting better with all of the young talent we have on the team."
The Potters focused a good bit of attention defensively to try and slow down Speelman.
"They played Speelman man-to-man," Hilliard said. "They tried to get into his head."
Prior to the start of the game, Beaver Local honored its six seniors. The seniors are Logan Charles, Cody Greer, Austin Taylor, Jackson, Fetty and Speelman.
Fetty finished the game with three saves."
"It was nice to send the seniors out with a win," Hilliard said. "I'm sure they wish they played better. They are happy with it."
Beaver Local's next game is at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Poland. East Liverpool's next game is at 7 p.m. Wednesday at United as part of a girls and boys doubleheader. East Liverpool will also play at 2 p.m. Saturday at home against Oak Glen on Senior Night.