Oak Hill’s Riley Worth, left, and Mt. Abram’s Kenyon Pillsbury both eye a loose ball during a game in Wales on Monday. Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

 

WALES — Mt. Abram “switched off for a second” in the waning moments of the first half, according to head coach Darren Allen, and the Roadrunners found themselves staring down a halftime deficit at Oak Hill on Monday.

The chances they had in the first half weren’t as plentiful in the second half, but the Roadrunners were finally successful after halftime in a 3-1 MVC boys soccer victory.

“It was really frustrating for us. We had a lot of possession in the first half, we were doing amazing shots, having amazing runs, and we were switched off for probably three seconds and they capitalized,” Mt. Abram senior Tyson Hill said. “So when we came in during half, we were all talking about it, and we’re just saying, ‘We got to capitalize on how much shots we’re having. They’re going to go in.’

“And we fought harder, even harder than we did in the first half, and luckily we prevailed.”

The Roadrunners (4-0) sent 11 shots on goal in the first half, but Raiders (1-3) goalie Cole Whitten turned 10 of them away and Colby Leighton denied Evan Allen on the goal line on the other chance.

“Cole is huge,” Oak Hill coach Bill Worth said. “Obviously, the game would have been a much different score without him in net.”

The Raiders had a few chances of their own, and their fourth and final one of the first half opened the scoring. Gage Thompson gained control of a bouncing ball off an Oak Hill throw-in and looped a shot over Roadrunners goalie Ian Allen with 48 seconds left before halftime.

Mt. Abram’s Wyatt Sieminski, left, tracks Oak Hill’s Gage Thompson possessing the ball during a game in Wales on Monday. Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“Certainly, at least when I was growing up, a goal in the first five minutes or the last five minutes of any half was just damaging, so it’s certainly helpful to get a goal in the last couple minutes of the first half. It gives them that intensity going into the halftime, and hopefully coming out,” Worth said. “They met us and did a better job the second half than we did.”

Whitten made a diving stop of Jonathan Jordan’s attempt early in the second, and stopped the first three Mt. Abram shots he faced after halftime, but he was helpless on the tying goal. Evan Allen’s free kick from 25 yards out on the right side of the field found the leaping head of Hill, who took advantage of the short kick and redirected it past an unsuspecting Whitten with 22 minutes left.

“Everyone on Oak Hill were filling in on the back post, so I saw the lane right to the front post. And we didn’t have an actual play for it, that happened, it was kind of like I was in the right spot at the right time,” Hill said. “When the ball hit my head, I was falling down, I look over, I just see the ball go in the goal, and it was like a huge, huge relief.”

Worth said he expected the Roadunners would get on the scoreboard at some point, but he was hoping one goal would be it, and that his team could put home another one. The Roadrunners didn’t let them happen, though, holding the Raiders without a shot on goal in the second half.

“The thought is to kind of just sit back and say, ‘OK, let’s shift into a 4-4-2 or something,’ which we didn’t. We stayed in attacking formation; we just couldn’t get through, we couldn’t get a shot off,” Worth said. “Well, we got the shots off, but we couldn’t get it anywhere close enough to get it in.”

The Roadrunners used a close-range chance of their own to break the tie. Ben Starbird’s throw-in found its way to Allen, whose low cross across the goalie box was pounded in by a streaking Hunter Warren with just under seven minutes to play.

Mt. Abram’s Evan Allen (9) kicks the ball into the air as teammate Wyatt Sieminski, left, and Oak Hill’s Max Hall (19) look on during a game in Wales on Monday. Wil Kramlich/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“He just finished his run, and it was just laying there for him, and, boom!” Darren Allen said.

Hill called the goal “a game-changer.” Hill then scored the game-finisher two minutes later, in easy-looking fashion.

Jordan’s through-ball made it to Hill, who was left alone by two Oak Hill defenders trying an offsides trap. Hill then dribbled toward Whitten before forcing the keeper to make a move, then Hill made his for the goal.

“I was confused because this team is really good, and when I looked over my shoulder I didn’t see anyone over me or behind me or anything, so I took my opportunity to go up as close as I can to that keeper, and I just tucked it away,” Hill said.

Whitten finished with 14 saves, while Allen stopped three shots for the Roadrunners.


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