ASHLAND — The Ashland boys soccer team fell behind early, but recovered and controlled the remainder of the Ohio Cardinal Conference championship match.
The Arrows notched a pair of goals in each half to collect a 4-2 win and the league title Wednesday night at Ashland’s Community Stadium.
“I’m extremely happy for our players. They’ve worked hard throughout the season and deserve all the credit,” Krispinsky said. “I was just there to guide them along. Hopefully, their work ethics will continue into the postseason.”
With the win the Arrows boast a perfect 10-0-0 league record (12-2-2 overall). The Colts fall to 9-5-2 (6-3-1 in the OCC).
But it was Clear Fork that cracked the scoring column first at the nine-minute mark, when senior forward Tyrus Snell scored from two yards off the goal line on a tight-angle shot that curved into the right side of the span.
“I think our speed up front took Ashland by surprise early in the contest, but missed opportunities proved costly later in the game,” said Clear Fork head coach Brian Kinnard. “Their two set plays in the first half from outside the (penalty) box really gave us something to talk about during halftime.”
The Arrows capitalized on their first of two scoring free kicks at the 18:12 mark of the first half when junior midfielder Tyson Dishman found the back of the net from 25 yards out near the center arc to even the match. Ten minutes later senior center back Keegan Hall scored on a direct free kick set-play from the outside left corner of the penalty box to put Ashland on top at the intermission, 2-1.
“It was very important for us to respond to Clear Fork’s first goal,” said Krispinsky, whose team outshot the Colts 6-5. “We never got down, and I was proud how our kids stepped up to the challenge.”
At the 49th minute, a Clear Fork defender was called for intentional handling in the box. Ashland’s Dishman scored on the ensuing penalty kick, which entered the span just under the right side of the crossbar to increase the Arrows’ margin to 3-1.
Clear Fork’s offense countered at the 52:49 mark of the match when junior midfielder Cade Hickinbotham ran under a throw-in and headed the ball into the goal past the outstretched arms of Ashland keeper Gabe Kral (3 saves in the match). That pulled the Colts within 3-2.
With ten minutes left, Ashland sophomore Quinn Watson headed the ball into the goal on a cross from the left flank to preserve the victory.