POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Exactly what the doctor ordered.
After scoring just three goals in its previous five contests, the Point Pleasant soccer team was able to secure its first victory in over two weeks on Thursday night with an impressive 8-1 decision over visiting Teays Valley Christian in a non-conference matchup at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
The Black Knights (4-2-4) celebrated Senior Night by honoring Kaydean Eta, Garrett Hatten, Peyton Hughes, Zach Rediger, Nick Smith, Isaiah Snyder, Cohen Yates and Sondre Folvik for their collective contributions over the years, then followed by snapping a five-match winless skid after churning out a season-high in goals.
The Red and Black put on an offensive display as the hosts had five different players score goals while outshooting the Lions (4-6-0) by an overwhelming 43-8 overall margin, which included a 23-3 advantage at the break.
The Black Knights also posted a sizable 30-3 advantage in shots on goal — including a 15-1 edge before the intermission — while scoring the first seven goals of the game.
Braxton Watkins-Lovejoy started the scoring barrage in the 10th minute after netting a pass from Hatten. Hatten dribbled between defenders and centered a pass that found Watkins-Lovejoy in the front of the net at point blank range, then Watkins-Lovejoy booted the ball from the right to the left side of net for an early 1-0 edge.
Adam Veroski followed with a score roughly two minutes later as he nailed a header in front of the right side of the goal. The goal was set up by a corner kick from Watkins-Lovejoy, making it a 2-0 contest.
Hatten tacked on the final goal of the first half after Veroski tracked down a free ball on the left side, then crossed a pass that found Hatten five yards away from the right side of the goal. Hatten buried the shot into the back of the net for a 3-0 cushion in the 38th minute.
Hatten added his second goal of the night while starting the second half scoring in the 45th minute. Hatten slipped through two defenders in front of the net and buried a shot in the back left side from 10 yards out — increasing the lead to 4-0.
Watkins-Lovejoy followed with his second goal in the 48th minute, one that was set up on a corner kick from Caden Barger on the right side. Barger launched the pass and Watkins-Lovejoy came in uncontested on the right side of the net, then nailed the shot into the back right of the goal for a 5-0 cushion.
Veroski added his second goal in an unassisted fashion during the 70th minute as the junior collected the ball in front of the net, then fired a 20-yard blast that trickled in on the left side for a six-goal advantage.
Hatten worked the ball down to the end line and centered a pass out to Hughes in front of the goal, who then buried the shot in stride while making it a 7-0 contest in the 74th minute.
TVCS, however, finally managed to get on the scoreboard a minute later as Cole Young buried a breakaway chance for a 7-1 score with 5:18 left in regulation.
The final goal of the game came from Eta, who managed to wiggle through two defenders after tracking down a loose ball in front of the goal. Eta fired the shot with his left foot to the right side and found the net with 30 seconds left, wrapping up the seven-goal triumph.
After the game, PPHS coach Chip Wood was more than pleased to see some offensive efficiency that reflected itself on the scoreboard.
“Things were finally starting to click a little bit offensively and we were just making all of the right decisions. It just seemed that every decision we made tonight was the right decision,” Wood said. “The execution wasn’t always perfect, but we were still making the right decisions that led to a lot of good opportunities. Half the battle is getting the ball into dangerous positions and we were able to do that all night long. This was a result that we really needed.”
The fourth-year mentor was also happy that his upperclassmen were able to have a night like this to remember.
“Those seniors are one of the few classes that absolutely bought into what we do from day one as freshmen,” Wood said. “They have done everything that we have asked of them for four years, and that is what has allowed us to get this program turned back around and make it a success. It was a fitting Senior Night for that group of young men.”
Hatten led the hosts with two assists to go along with his two goals, while Watkins-Lovejoy, Veroski and Barger also added an assist apiece.
Smith stopped two shots in goal for the Black Knights, who also had five shot attempts hit either the cross bar or a post. Devin Danford made 17 saves in net for the Lions.
Point Pleasant claimed a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks and was also whistled for four of the six fouls in the contest.
The Black Knights return to action Saturday when they host Williamstown in a non-conference friendly at 1 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.