BEAVERCREEK — The Beavercreek High School boys soccer team faced off against a tough adversary in Cincinnati Walnut Hills High School. The two evenly matched teams were forced to find tiny mistakes in the opposing defenses to score, and the hard-fought match ended in a 1-1 tie, Oct. 12 at Frank Zink Field.
Both teams exhibited a strong and fast defensive game. The Beavercreek forwards’ normal strategy of “be faster than the other guy” wasn’t enough to break through the Walnut Hills defenders. Senior Asad Patel of Beavercreek in particular, normally a star forward by virtue of his speed, constantly had at least two Walnut Hills defenders on him, limiting his ability to set his teammates up for a goal.
Walnut Hills also had a tough time breaking through Beavercreek. Beavers senior defender Jack Towers’ powerful kicks and ability to take control of the ball consistently sent Walnut Hills back into its own territory, where the long process of pecking at the Beavers’ defense began anew.
No goals were scored during the first half. Twelve minutes into the second, Walnut Hills was able to exploit the first of Beavercreek’s mistakes. Walnut Hills’ Emmanuel Gebremeskel engaged in a scrum with Towers at the edge of left field. Gebremeskel was able to get behind Towers and center the ball to Spencer Shroyer, who sent the ball into the goal on a header.
After this goal, Beavercreek kicked into overdrive. With 2:20 left in the game, senior Pete Schneider of Beavercreek was able to find a crack in the Walnut Hills defense, driving up the center of the field to smack the ball into the lower left corner of the goal.
“It was good to level the score,” says Beavercreek coach John Guiliano. “Walnut Hills is obviously a good team. Both teams are using this game to prep for tournaments, so the sense of the game was more of a friendly for most of the guys. It shows that when we want to play and we have to get a goal that we were able to get a goal.”
Coaches of both teams expressed respect for their tough opponent.
“Coming out of Cincinnati and the Eastern Cincinnati Conference that they [Walnut Hills] play in, when you look at their results this year, everything has been 1-0, one side or the other,” says Guiliano. “The team’s tough, they’re really well coached, they’ve got some good players, so this is a perfect game for us to test ourselves going into tournament.”
Walnut Hills coach Keagan Malott was pleased with the learning experience his players encountered on the field.
“It was a really good game. We got to play some younger guys and they came in and stepped up. We’ve only let in 14 goals in 15 games. Offensively we’re a little inconsistent, but I think we’re really starting to pick it up now. Beavercreek is the best team that we’ve played, and this is a good test. If we make it far, we’re going to run into a team like them, so we have to play well against them.”
Walnut Hills’ record stood at 7-5-3 going into its Oct. 15 tournament match, but they lost to Kings by a 1-0 score.
Beavercreek’s record stands at 11-1-4 going into their tourney match versus Xenia at home, Saturday, Oct. 19.
London Bishop is a freelance sportswriter for Greene County News.