JAMESTOWN — Greeneview always believed it would turn its season around. It was actually executing night in and night out which needed to be proven.
A 2-0 win against West Liberty Salem in the opening game of the Division III sectional tournament on Thursday proved to the culmination of the work hard put in.
“Usually we play Thursday and Saturday and everybody sees that, but I’ve seen the mindset to stay really confident that we were a good team,” head coach TJ Milby said. “Tonight’s result is a testament not just to the product tonight, but to the Monday through Saturday work that they’ve been putting in since August 1.”
Greeneview began the year 0-3-2 and dropped a regular season meeting with WLS 3-0. It’s been a much a complete turnaround for the Rams since it charging ahead to a second place league finish.
The 11th-seeded Rams are now 10-1-1 in their last 12 matches.
Greeneview applied the vast majority of the pressure in the opening 20 minutes in producing the best chances. Jordan Erisman got the scoring started by netting a ball after a crossing pass made its way through the penalty box and found his foot at the 25:33 mark.
WLS, which won the OHC and went unbeaten in league play, began to create its own challenges down the stretch of the first half and evened the play as halftime neared, but the Rams converted what turned out to be a crucial gift as time was winding down.
In the final minute of the half, Erisman kept a live ball in play near the corner flag and was able to work his way out toward the box. It eventually led to a foul being drawn with six seconds remaining and a penalty kick being awarded.
Andrew Hurley was chosen and slammed a penalty kick toward the left post and out of the reach of WLS goalkeeper Connor Baird. It put the Rams ahead 2-0 as Hurley and his teammates meditated in celebration near the corner.
“It’s one of our biggest strengths between Hayden Laudermilk, Andrew Hurley and Jordan for the three of them to just press and continue to work hard even if they don’t have the ball,” Milby said. “They can do the really pretty stuff, but they also are willing to do the extra work which is hard to come like chasing down loose balls.”
Greeneview clamped down in the second half in not allowing a single shot attempt, primarily due to the pressure its offense continued to put on as it searched to pad the lead.
The Rams for the second straight season now find themselves one win away from playing for a district title. Greeneview will play Legacy Christian, the No. 1-seed, at 7 p.m. on Monday at Beavercreek HS.
Last season’s tournament game was seen as a cycle of improvement’s beginning for the program, according to Milby. A year later the Rams are ready to see where they are now.
“The guys are ready to test themselves and see how much better have we gotten,” he said. “I think we’ll get to see that on Monday and we’re all pumped for it.”
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.