Black Knights blank Blue Devils, 4-0


CENTENARY, Ohio — The Black Knights spent most of Tuesday against the Blue Devils in the proverbial “Red Zone”.

And, if you blinked, you might have missed Point Pleasant posting its four goals.

The Black Knights remained undefeated on the season at 4-0-0, defeating host Gallia Academy 4-0 on Tuesday in a non-league boys soccer tilt at Lester Field.

The Black Knights netted two goals in each half, and did so in such bang-bang fashion that they caught both the Blue Devils — and those in attendance — off-guard.

Their first two tallies came within a minute and a second of each other in the first half, followed by only a 16-second gap in the second.

It was also Point Pleasant’s first victory by more than three goals —as its first three contests were a pair of 3-0 shutouts, followed by a 6-3 doubling up of Lincoln County.

The Black Knights now have three shutouts with Zach Rediger in goal, and have outscored their opposition 16-3.

Against Gallia Academy, in dominating possession and playing the majority of the match in the Blue Devils’ defensive half and even third, Point Pleasant put up 15 shots —and had five corner kicks compared to one for the Blue and White.

About the only thing lacking from the Black Knights was their communication —likely the result of fatigue from playing their third match in four days.

Point Pleasant coach Chip Wood explained his team’s gameplan, which was to get the heavy Blue Devil defense away from its net.

“Based on what we knew with how heavy they were defending, we knew we could knock the ball around a little bit and try to pull them away from their goal and open up spaces in behind them. That way, we could attack the spaces that they were leaving,” he said. “We were actually pretty successful in using our wide areas to pull them out and get them spread out. The point was to use the possession to try to pull them out and then we were looking to sneak players in. And dominating the possession is something we’ve been trying to do a lot this year. Overall, I was very pleased with the way we played.”

The Black Knights finally got on the board when Alex Carlisle scored at the 18:24 mark —off an Austin Nott assist.

Then, just a minute and one second later, Nott notched a goal of his own to make it 2-0.

In similar fashion in the second half, the Black Knights made it 4-0 by the 14-and-a-half minute mark.

Off the fifth and final corner kick, Carlisle caught a rebound shot —and knocked it in with one high direct bounce over Gallia Academy goalkeeper Andrew Toler.

Just 16 seconds later, on a failed Gallia Academy clear, Garrett Hatten stole the ball from Toler, and rocketed a shot past him into the lower-right 90.

“The best time to score is right after you score or right after you have been scored on,” said Wood. “That’s usually when teams fall into lulls. We tried to press and attack immediately anytime the ball is stopped.”

Gallia Academy coach Cory Camden said simply “you can’t defend every minute of every game and expect a good outcome”.

It was the Blue Devils’ first game in a week — and only their second as they tied Fairland 2-2 in the season and Ohio Valley Conference opener.

“It was very tough tonight. In the soccer world, you’re very susceptible to giving up a goal if you’ve given up one goal already. You are already on your heels, then you give up that second goal. I thought we defended tooth-and-nail against a very good team tonight, but when you’re down 2-0 so quick, you’re working off that and playing catch-up. From there, you can’t sit back in anything, you have to go forward,” said Camden. “We didn’t control the ball at the midfield at all. Everything was in our defensive third, we couldn’t get any offensive flow going and we lost the 50-50 percentage.”

The Blue Devils had just two shots, as their best scoring chance was a Justin Day breakaway just before the half — that Rediger scooped up and saved with 42 seconds remaining.

“We have four excellent marking-type defenders on the back line that we can rotate a little bit. They are very strong, and very strong in the air. As a team, we are getting stronger and stronger in the air. We won a huge amount of the balls in the air tonight,” said Wood.

While the experienced Black Knights sport seven seniors and 13 total lettermen from a year ago, the young Blue Devils don’t have 13 players —including nine graduated starting seniors — from last season.

“We tried different combinations and it’s a non-conference game early in the season. If we’re going to make some changes or try different things, now is the time to do it,” said Camden. “We’re a young inexperienced team starting a few freshmen, a few sophomores, a few juniors and only two seniors which are playing at all. Anytime you are going to take lumps — with the good and the bad. With every game we play, we’re going to learn.”

The Blue Devils return home, and return to OVC action, on Thursday against Rock Hill.

Point Pleasant played at Nitro on Wednesday night — the Black Knights’ fourth affair in five days.

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Gallia Academy’s Bode Wamsley (29) battles Point Pleasant’s Justin Staats (6) for possession of the ball during Tuesday night’s non-league boys soccer match at Gallia Academy High School’s Lester Field.
http://www.mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2017/08/web1_8.31-GA-Wamsley.jpgGallia Academy’s Bode Wamsley (29) battles Point Pleasant’s Justin Staats (6) for possession of the ball during Tuesday night’s non-league boys soccer match at Gallia Academy High School’s Lester Field. Paul Boggs|OVP Sports

Point Pleasant’s Peyton Hughes (18) and Gallia Academy’s Justin Day (7) chase down a loose ball during Tuesday night’s non-league boys soccer match at Gallia Academy High School’s Lester Field.
http://www.mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2017/08/web1_8.31-PP-Hughes.jpgPoint Pleasant’s Peyton Hughes (18) and Gallia Academy’s Justin Day (7) chase down a loose ball during Tuesday night’s non-league boys soccer match at Gallia Academy High School’s Lester Field. Paul Boggs|OVP Sports

By Paul Boggs

pboggs@aimmediamidwest.com

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106