Corner skills: MHS converts 2 CKs in 5-2 triumph over Athens

DEVOLA – Marietta High had a winning combination

Skylar Miracle hooked up with Jacob Holdren twice on corner kicks as the Tigers defeated Athens, 5-2, in non-conference boys’ action at the Devola Soccer Complex Saturday night.

Miracle also scored what proved to be the game-winner in the second half, and teammate Max Suckel added two late insurance goals for the orange and black booters, who improved their record to 5-2-1.

MHS keeper Eric Pierce was credited with eight saves.

“It was a good bounce-back win and a quality win for us,” said Marietta head coach Todd Morris, whose Tigers dropped a 4-2 decision to visiting Coshocton last Tuesday night. “We really needed this one, confidence-wise. Athens is a quality program.

“Tonight we were focused right from the start, and played with purpose. It’s always nice to win on your home field, which we hadn’t done this year.”

Athens’ goals were scored by Victor Davis and Dustin Goetz. Sophomore goalie Sam Conrath-Sweeney recorded 13 saves.

The Bulldogs fell to 4-2-1 on the campaign.

“We fought hard, but we had an off night,” said Athens boss Isaac Thomas. “Marietta finished their chances.”

MHS opened up the scoring early in the first half when Holdren headed home Miracle’s corner kick from the left side. The goal was the senior playmaker’s fourth of the season. The score was also the Tigers’ first on a CK this fall.

“That sounds about right,” said Holdren, “because we’re usually good in the air.”

A few minutes later, off another corner kick from Miracle, Holdren used his foot to give Marietta a 2-0 advantage.

“The second one came down a little bit,” Holdren said of his fifth goal of the season. “I just trapped it with my thigh and put it in.”

Morris was impressed with both Miracle and Holdren on the CKs.

“Skylar kicked two good balls, and Jacob just has this way,” the Tiger mentor said. “He’s not the biggest guy, but he has this knack for getting open. He wins a lot of balls out of the air, and he was in the right place at the right time.”

Thomas was disappointed in his defense’s man marking of the MHS players on the re-start.

“We let the same man free twice,” the AHS coach said. “But those were nice finishes by Marietta.”

About 15 minutes before halftime, Athens cut it to 2-1 when Davis’ kick went off Pierce’s finger tips and into the back of the net.

At the intermission, Marietta led 2-1.

During the first minute of the second half, Goetz got the equalizer for the Bulldogs when he beat Pierce with a boot.

“We had to use a lot of energy to get back into the game,” Thomas said. “And, that hurt us.”

MHS regained the advantage on Miracle’s score during the 43rd minute of play. The goal was the senior midfielder’s third of the campaign.

Rounding out the Tiger scoring, Suckel had two goals, one of which went between Conrath-Sweeney’s legs, to seal the victory. Suckel, an exchange student from Chile, now leads the orange and black in scoring with 11 goals.

“Give Athens a lot of credit,” Morris said. “They came back twice on us. They got the equalizer early (in the second half). They’re always well-coached and play hard.”

Marietta is scheduled to host New Philadelphia in an East Central Ohio League matchup Tuesday at 7 p.m. Athens is slated to play Alexander on the same day in The Plains.

“We got a 100 percent effort from everybody (vs. Athens), and we’ve got to build off of it,” Holdren said.

Notes: Marietta High senior tri-captain Brent Huck was back on the pitch and playing on defense against Athens. The all-state honoree had been sidelined with a case of mono after the season-opening Warren match…MHS head coach Todd Morris and Athens boss Isaac Thomas played against each other on the soccer field in the 1990s…Tiger tennis coach Chris Mayer, whose netters are undefeated so far this season, was in attendance at the soccer match. The 34-year-old Mayer played his prep soccer at Athens High…Athens is the only team so far this season to pin a loss on two-time defending district champion Warren…Marietta senior Jacob Holdren went from team leader in assists with eight to goal scorer Saturday night. His two scores against the Bulldogs now gives him five net-benders on the season. Max Suckel leads the team with 11 goals, and Ryan Teer has seven.