POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The Black Knights have found the key to success.
Just get the match to go the distance in regulation.
The Point Pleasant boys soccer team picked up its fourth shutout of the season while notching its second straight victory on Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 decision over visiting Fairland in a non-conference friendly at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
The host Black Knights (6-1-0) were tested by a stingy Dragons defense that proved to be formidable in the final third of the field. The Red and Black claimed a slim 13-10 edge in shots on goal, but the extra chances did ultimately prove to be beneficial.
PPHS cracked the scoring in the 25th minute as Alberto Castillo found the back of the net for a 1-0 cushion. Castillo buried a point blank shot that was tapped over to him by an assisting Cohen Yates for the only goal of the first half.
Castillo again found the net in the 50th minute as Braxton Watkins-Lovejoy bounced a pass into the box that Castillo chased down and buried inside the left post, allowing the hosts to secure a 2-0 cushion.
The Black Knights — whose lone loss came in a 1-0 decision to Gallia Academy that was called at halftime due to lightning — were whistled for eight of the 14 fouls in the game. FHS also claimed a small 2-1 edge in corner kicks.
Afterwards, PPHS coach Chip Wood noted that he was impressed enough with Fairland that he had to tinker a bit with his lineup. He also felt that Saturday’s victory was as solid as any on the program’s resume thus far.
“We had some issues finding passing lanes in the final third today, so we mixed up the formation a little with some personnel changes. This allowed us to put our strengths up against their weaknesses and break through,” Wood said. “They had a very disciplined back line and center defensive mid who made it difficult to push through the passing lanes. They were easily the most disciplined back four we’ve faced this year.”
Nick Smith made 10 saves in goal for the Black Knights, while Fairland keeper Christian Italiano stopped 11 shots in the setback.
Point Pleasant travels to Belpre on Tuesday for a non-conference match at 6 p.m. The Black Knights also return home Thursday when they welcome Lincoln County at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.