ASHLAND — When there’s a ‘Will’, there’s a way.
And the Mansfield Christian boys soccer team had plenty of ‘Will’ during their independent match against Ashland.
Senior forward Will Cochran scored both goals for the Flames, as Mansfield Christian edged the Arrows 2-0 Saturday afternoon at Ashland Community Stadium. With the win M.C. increases it’s record to 11-1, while the Arrows fall to 9-2-2.
Mansfield Christian coach Ben Stauffer knew his players were ready for the matchup with Ashland.
“They really wanted this game today. I could see it in their eyes,” said Stauffer, whose team outshot the Arrows by a 13-7 count. “This was by far the big game in the area, and Ashland is certainly one of the better teams on our schedule. The intensity was thick out there today.”
Cochran’s first goal came near the middle of the first half when the Flames’ senior goal-keeper Robbie Barnhill (four saves in the match) kicked a 70-yard punt that landed on the pitch between the center and penalty box arcs. The ball bounced skyward and desended near the 18-yard line. Cochran headed the sphere during its descent over Ashland sophmore goalkeeper Gabe Kral (8 saves ) into the span to give the Flames a 1-0 advantage going into intermission.
Ashland coach Danny Krispinsky was disappointed by his team’s play in the first 40-minutes.
“Mansfield Christian set the tone (in the first half). We were flat and had to play catch-up the entire first period,” Krispinsky said. “They simply took it to us.”
Both teams came out fired up following halftime, as strong physical play and fast transition on both sides of the ball dominated the second half.
At the 72-minute mark of the match Mansfield Christian sophmore mid-fielder Ryan Smith threw the ball in from the left touchline into the high point of the penalty box area. Cochran sprinted into the arc and shot the ball into the left upper 90’s of the goal to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.
“There were two outstanding offensive players out there today: Will (Cochran) for Mansfield Christian and Dan Amstutz for Ashland,” Stauffer said. “We were very fortunate that our deep center backs, Jacob (Brown) and Barrett (Fitzgerald), were able to keep Dan in check most of the game.”
Krispinsky said, “We had more opportunities in the second half, but just couldn’t finish. It was a great game to play, and this kind of competition gets us ready for both the OCC Tournament and postseason play in a few weeks.”