By John Bombatch
ENON — Some second-half adjustments and a lot of Hillclimbers pressure led to Urbana’s 3-0 win over Greenon, Wednesday night at Greenon High School.
“We knew that Urbana had a good trio of scorers, and we knew that they were capable of scoring goals. Honestly, I tend to think that maybe if we’d have scored first that might’ve made a little bit of a difference. Or in terms of team morale, if we could have come back to tie them, we may have been able to battle back, but that’s a really good Urbana team,” Greenon coach Jeff Nickles said. “I mean, they put us away definitively tonight. There wasn’t any doubt about who was the better team.”
The first 40 minutes of play saw Greenon chipping away at every Hillclimbers pass, and contesting everything. It also saw the two Central Buckeye Conference, Mad River Division foes battling to a scoreless tie at the half.
Urbana coach Dylan Walker said he and his staff made a couple adjustments at the break. Those tweaks to the Hillclimbers’ offense seemed to make a world of difference. Greenon soon found itself on the defensive for much of the second half.
“We changed our formation a little bit in the second half. We gave up some space in the middle of the field in the first half. So in the second half, we moved to three midfielders and moved some guys around and became a little bit stronger,” Walker said.
He said the team played to some of their stronger players who were camped out on the wings, and that seemed to enable the Hillclimbers to move the ball a bit better in the second half.
First, Cooper Johnson zigged and zagged through the Knights defense and got off a pass to MkLaine Eggleston, who launched a score into the left corner of the Greenon goal for the night’s first score, with 29:11 left to play.
Urbana had three more scoring attempts — one of which was cleared away by Greenon defender Brady Whittaker and another deflected away by fellow Knight defender Ben Deckard — before Eggleston scored his second goal off a pass from Trevor Adams, with just over 18 minutes to go.
The Climbers’ Makay LeMieux faked a pass to Johnson, then buried a shot into the right side of the Greenon goal with 13 minutes left to play, for the final score of the match.
Nickles said he continues to see Knights goalie Andy Horton improve.
“He took some really good offensive chances tonight and he came up big on quite a few of them. For a kid who’s been playing football for the last three years, it kind of amazes me to see what he can do. … And Whittaker and Deckard were stout tonight. Before the game, we gave them very specific jobs to stick on their top threats, and they did what we asked them to do. Unfortunately, we just broke down in a couple places tonight,” Nickles said.
With the win, Urbana clinched the school’s first-ever CBC Mad River Division title. Nickles hopes his Knights bunch will get another chance to play them.
“The Springfield draw this year is more or less our league plus or minus a couple teams, so it’s likely that we might get the chance to meet up with these guys again in the post season. We just have to learn from this and hope we get another chance to play them then,” Nickles said.
Before then, Greenon has a pair of regular season games yet to play: They will host New Lebanon Dixie at 5:30 p.m. Monday, then the Knights will wind up their regular season with their final CBC match, a 6 p.m. tilt at New Paris Graham.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.