Marietta boys drop nailbiter to Alexander, 2-1

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Marietta’s Austyn Chen possesses the ball as Alexander’s Danny Goetz defends during Saturday’s high school boys soccer district final match in Logan.

LOGAN — Marietta High’s coaching staff was not exactly thrilled with the officiating on the pitch.

But Michael Norris was the one person who really beat the Tigers.

The Alexander senior striker scored two goals to lead the Spartans to a 2-1 triumph over the Tigers in a SE DII boys’ soccer district final at Logan High Saturday night.

Norris also had the match winner in a 1-0 Alexander win against Marietta during regular-season play at Jerry Brock Field.

“We knew he was their guy going in,” said MHS head soccer coach Todd Morris. “And, we just didn’t do a good enough job on him.”

With the victory, Alexander, 16-1-1 overall, advances and will now face Athens High (9-4-4) in a regional semi at 7 p.m. Wednesday at LHS. The Spartans’ only setback this fall was at Warren.

“Alexander, give them credit,” Morris said. “They’ve had a great season with one loss.”

Marietta bowed out of tournament play with a solid 11-6-2 mark.

“We deserved better; the kids worked so hard, and it’s disappointing that the referees can impact the game,” Morris said. “It’s sad. It was officiated poorly on both sides.”

Norris staked the Spartans to a 1-0 advantage in the 18th minute of play. With a Tiger defender dogging him on the right side, he dribbled left, and was able to swerve a perimeter boot just inside the left post. MHS keeper Ian Coleman never had a chance.

At halftime, Alexander maintained that 1-goal lead.

But near the midway point of the second half, Marietta got the equalizer when Austyn Chen headed home Jake Craven’s right-side corner kick.

Chen’s goal was his 27th of the season, one shy of the school’s single-season mark of 28.

Craven’s assist was his 18th of the campaign. In the district semi against Hillsboro on Tuesday, he set the school record for assists (17) in a single-season.

With 10:21 remaining in the match, Norris created another good look on goal for himself at the top of the box, and blasted a shot past Coleman and into the back of the net.

“Our season could’ve been better,” Morris said. “It is what is, I guess.”