By Craig Dunn
LOGAN — The Teays Valley boys soccer team tried to rally in the second half on Tuesday but could not overcome a two-goal halftime deficit in a 2-1 Division I Central District sectional semifinal loss to host Logan.
Braden Shriner and Ayden St. Clair scored in the first half as Logan took a 2-0 lead at the intermission, then had to hold on against a determined Teays Valley (11-5-1) team that came into the match with a seven-game winning streak and the No. 32 seed.
It was Teays Valley’s second 2-1 loss to the Chieftains this season in Logan’s home facility. Logan beat the Vikings in their home opener back in late August.
The Chiefs (11-4-3) did have a couple nice scoring chances in the game’s opening 10 minutes before neither team generated much of anything offensively for the next 10.
And then, kind of out of nowhere, the No. 31 seeded Chiefs got an opportunity… and took full advantage of it.
Shriner and Noah Swart found themselves on the front end of a 2-on-1 attack and did a terrific job of playing give-and-go to get the one defender and the goalkeeper out of position.
Shriner crossed from left to right to Swart, who crossed it back to Shriner on the left side, and Shriner beat TV keeper Derek Yarnell just inside the left post for his eighth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead with 19:18 left in the first half.
It wasn’t like Teays Valley didn’t have chances, however. Zach Burdette sent a ball into the penalty area that Logan keeper Tyler Kochheiser headed out then, a minute later, a TV corner kick went dangerously loose in the box before the Chiefs cleared it away.
And Teays Valley freshman Gavin Waters took a lead pass just inside midfield, split two defenders and tried to roll a shot past the oncoming Kochheiser from about 25 yards out with a little more than seven minutes remaining in the half. He rolled it a scant foot wide of the right post.
Then, with 5:55 remaining in the half, the Chiefs got a shot off that Yarnell bodied out, but it went right to St. Clair, who rolled the rebound just inside the right post to make it 2-0 Chieftains.
That turned out to be the winning score as the Chiefs basically turned to defense in the second half. Well, that was the plan, at least.
The Vikings made the Chiefs change their strategy early in the second half when, after Yarnell made back-to-back saves on a Logan shot and a rebound, and Kochheiser saved a long free kick, Waters and sophomore Max Spencer played Shriner and Swart with a give-and-go of their own.
Waters made a left-to-right pass to Spencer, who fed him with a return ball that Waters knocked home to close the gap to 2-1 with 35:47 still left in the match.
The Chiefs really only had one good offensive opportunity in the second half — an Isaac Jennice shot from the middle of the box was saved by a leaping Yarnell — as the Vikings applied as much pressure as they could to get the tying goal.
A free kick went loose in front of Kochheiser but was cleared away by the defense with 33 minutes left and Kochheiser made a couple nice saves with less than 10 minutes remaining. Teays Valley never got a clean look at goal as the Chiefs’ defense came through.
The Chiefs travel to Delaware County on Thursday night to take on Olentangy Berlin (10-5-1), the district’s No. 12 seed, in a sectional final.
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