CENTENARY, Ohio — Nine seniors, seven goals, five victories in the Ohio Valley Conference — and one all-around enjoyable night for the Gallia Academy High School soccer squad.
That was the end result on Thursday night, as the Blue Devils rolled past visiting Rock Hill 7-1 in an OVC match at Gallia Academy High School’s Lester Field.
With the win, Gallia Academy improved to 6-3-0 — with wins in six of its last seven matches, including five inside the OVC.
The Blue and White lead the first-year soccer conference at a perfect 5-0-0, and have only allowed eight goals against OVC foes thus far — four of them coming a week ago at South Point.
Gallia Academy also completes the season sweep of the first-year Redmen, as GAHS won 4-1 at Rock Hill 10 days ago.
On Thursday, the Blue Devils did most of their damage in the first half — with five assisted goals to lead 5-0 at halftime.
Four of them came within a span of 18 minutes — with all five coming in the final 26:55.
In the second half, the Blue Devils scored just four minutes and 22 seconds in to make it 6-0, as senior striker Isaiah Lester landed his team-high 19th goal on the year.
Finally, with only a minute and 17 ticks to play, sophomore Seth Flinner found the back of the net in registering his first career goal — much to the delight of the Blue Devil bench and home crowd.
The Redmen averted the shutout on a penalty-kick goal with 13 minutes remaining, as Victor Aguilera amounted the tally — barely squeezing the shot through the hands of Gallia Academy goalkeeper Caden Wilt.
With seven goals scored by seven separate Blue Devils, and at least one assist apiece by four different players, it was a total team offensive performance.
But don’t forget about the defense either, which was inches away from its initial shutout of the season.
“It was a great win, a good night for the seniors and everybody stepped out on the field and played well,” said second-year GAHS coach Richard Isberner. “Our defense has been solid. I wish we would have had a clean sheet (shutout) because we haven’t had a clean sheet yet. But everybody works real hard together and works real well. We’re improving every game. We started a little bit slow, but after the first goal, we started to play our game and it ended up the way it did. My nine seniors have done a fantastic job so far.”
Those nine seniors — Lester, Wilt, Madi Oiler, Colton Fallon, Ben Rutherford, Brycen Caudill, Jacob Ratliff, Nathanael Riddle and Drew Hall — were honored on Senior Night in pregame ceremonies.
Lester, Oiler and Fallon are the team’s tri-captains, while Wilt is the keeper and the others are regular starters.
Only the injured Caudill, who is likely out for the season, did not play on Thursday night.
The overwhelming majority of the match was played in the Blue Devils’ offensive third and half, as Riddle rocketed in the first goal at the 26:55 mark.
Just six minutes and 17 seconds later, Ratliff recorded his goal — off an assist by Miguel Velasco.
Only 52 seconds after that, Erin Lincoln landed her marker to make it 3-0.
With 10:13 to play in the half, Pedro Carrascal scored — before he turned around and assisted on the goal by Velasco with 2:42 left on the clock.
Lester assisted on the goals by Riddle, Lincoln and Carrascal — as Carrascal collected the assist on the second-half point by Lester.
On the final goal by Flinner, Pedro Massignani was credited with the assist.
Wilt wound up with three saves, as Gallia Academy outshot Rock Hill by a whopping 38-5 margin, including 22-1 in the first half.
The Blue Devils dialed up 13 corner kicks as well, compared to the Redmen’s one.
Gallia Academy, which won against Ohio Valley Christian School 8-1 two weeks ago (Sept. 10), returned to OVCS for the rematch on Saturday.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106
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