BELPRE, Ohio — Even in this heat, it still takes some time to warm up.
The Point Pleasant boys soccer team broke away from a one-all tie in the 27th minute and ultimately never looked back on Tuesday night during a 7-2 victory over host Belpre in a non-conference match in Washington County.
The Black Knights (7-1-0) never trailed in the contest as guests picked up their third consecutive triumph in a rather impressive fashion.
The Red and Black secured a permanent cushion in the 27th minute as Adam Veroski scored his second goal of the game while dribbling through two defenders to bury a shot in the left corner.
From there, Point Pleasant went on to add an Alberto Castillo goal — on an assist from Garrett Hatten — in the 34th minute to claim a 3-1 advantage at the break.
The Black Knights followed by scoring the first four goals of the second half, all of which came during a 30-minute blitz of offensive pressure.
Hatten drove home an 18-yard low line drive that bounced off the keeper’s hands, but ultimately found the net in the 45th minute for a 4-1 edge.
Castillo notched his second goal on a perfectly placed pass from Braxton Watkins-Lovejoy deep in Point territory, giving the guests a 5-1 advantage in the 55th minute.
Castillo returned the favor five minutes later after finding Hatten in front of the net, and Hatten won a 1-on-1 battle with the keeper to give the Black Knights a 6-1 lead in the 60th minute.
Castillo picked up a hat trick in the 70th minute after receiving a pass from Cohen Yates. Castillo played the ball of his chest to his foot, then popped the ball up an launched a volley from 12 yards out that found the upper left corner for a 7-1 lead.
Asaphe Santana scored on a penalty kick for BHS in the 72nd minute, ending the home scoring drought while making it a 7-2 contest.
Veroski gave Point a 1-0 advantage in the 15th minute thanks to an assist by Castillo. Andrew Curtis tied the game at one in the 20th minute on a 20-yard midfield blast that found the back lower left corner.
The Black Knights claimed an 18-11 edge in shots on goal and also posted a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks. Belpre was whistled for a dozen of the 18 fouls in the contest.
Point Pleasant entered the game ranked eighth in the Class AA rankings and 14th overall in the state of West Virginia. The Black Knights have also outscored their opponents by a sizable 41-5 margin and have a pair of double-digit goal scorers already this fall.
Still, PPHS coach Chip Wood noted that as good as things have been of late — Tuesday night was a little bit of a step back in some regards. Nonetheless, given the heat and the number of games over the last two weeks — Wood was still pleased with the end result.
“The score really doesn’t indicate how tight this game was. We had a lot of issues, we took off Labor Day and we looked very off all night,” Wood said. “We just seemed to play sluggish tonight and we weren’t very sharp, but we’ve played a lot of soccer in the last 12 days. I was proud of our guys for keeping their composure and just playing the game out tonight.”
Nick Smith stopped 10 shots in net for the Black Knights.
Point Pleasant returns to action Thursday when it hosts Lincoln County at 7 p.m. The Black Knights also welcome OVCS on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.