CIRCLEVILLE – Circleville held off a late charge to post a 4-3 win over Valley Thursday evening.
The Tigers had a 1-0 lead at halftime on the strength of freshman Blain Fowler’s goal in the 36th minute. That came off the rebound of a shot by Liam Goodhart.
The second half got off to a faster start for the Tigers as seniors Payden Dillon, Donovan Dillon and Goodhart each scored within a 15-minute period. Those goals were assisted by senior Luke Stout and freshmen Fowler and Kaden Paxton.
“The game was pretty even for most of the first half. We were able to get a big goal by freshman Blain Fowler to put us up 1-0 going into the half,” Circleville coach Evan Callihan said. “We came out strong in the second half scoring three goals in the first 15 minutes to go up 4-0..
“Valley came storming back in the last 15 minutes of the game scoring three goals and having several chances to tie the game up. Our sophomore Will Flory made several incredible saves within the last 15 minutes to prevent scoring opportunities and made a pretty remarkable save with under 10 seconds left to seal the win for us. The game was high intensity and really physical throughout.”
The win improves the Tigers’ record to 6-2-2.
The matchup with Valley was only recently added to the schedule as the original game on the slate was cancelled.
“We needed a game and Valley was available and we knew that they were going to come up here with a tough and hard-nosed group of kids. I give a lot a credit to Valley and their coaching staff. Those kids play extremely hard and they play with a lot of fight,” Callihan said. “Freshman Blain Fowler stepped up big for us tonight scoring a goal late in the first half and assisting on another goal in the second. Blain is a super coachable kid and is always working to improve and get better. He has a high ceiling as a freshman and he showed a lot of growth tonight.
“Seniors Luke Stout and Liam Goodhart came up big for us again at different moments in the game along with seniors Donovan Dillon and Payden Dillon both adding goals for us. Our sophomore goalie Will Flory made some pretty incredible saves tonight and as a coach sometimes I’m not even sure how he saved a few of them. Will is a tough kid and he battled all night for our team, and he put us in a position to win this game.
“Our defense played with a lot of fight all night and they really never get enough credit for what they do on a daily basis. Our defense of Ashton Groff, Slater Search, Zack Bell, Greyson Buckley and Donovan Dillon play pretty much the entire game each night which isn’t an easy thing to do,” Callihan added. “The last 15 minutes of the game were a whirlwind, and we were able to hang on. We always talk as a team about how no lead is ever safe and tonight definitely showed that, but we were able to capture a big win for our program.”
Tigers play to a draw with Shermans
CHILLICOTHE — For the second time this week, Circleville took to the road to play a team that had been ranked in the top 10 of the Southeast District coaches poll as the Tigers battled Unioto to a scoreless draw.
The Tigers took control of the match early, and a Makya Cockerham shot beat the goalkeeper, but was kept out by the crossbar. While Unioto controlled possession for much of the first half, the Tiger’s defense kept the Shermans from having any quality chances on goal. Kylie McCain had her only save of the match to keep Unioto off the scoresheet, and despite a shot from Ava Justice that beat the goalkeeper, the back post kept the match scoreless into halftime.
During the second half, the Tiger’s defense tightened up and kept Unioto from having any shots on goal.
“I thought our defensive effort was excellent tonight. We made some adjustments at halftime and our girls responded well,” CHS coach Joseph Stitt said. “Any time you can keep a team like Unioto to only one shot on goal you must be doing something right.
“We certainly had our chances offensively, so a lot of credit goes to Unioto’s centerback and goalkeeper. They both played well tonight”
Despite having several second-half chances and increasing their possession, the Tigers were unable to find the back of the net, and the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
“This time last fall we would have been ecstatic with a draw against Unioto, so I think the fact that we are walking away from a 0-0 match and feeling disappointed really says a lot about where we are and what we expect to do,” Stitt said. “Overall, I was really impressed with our effort tonight and how we played. We knew they would control some possession in the midfield, and we did a great job being patient defensively.”
With a win and a draw this week, the Tigers rose to No. 5 in the weekly coaches’ poll.
Tigers (6-3-3, 3-3 MSL) have a short turnaround when they host league foe Amanda-Clearcreek on Monday.