Marietta’s Craven a nightmare for Athens in 4-1 win

JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times Marietta High’s Jake Craven (1) handles the ball as Athens’ Jack Conrath-Sweeney (8) defends during a high school boys soccer match Thursday evening at Jerry Brock Field in Devola. Marietta won, 4-1.

DEVOLA — Jake Craven was all over the pitch for Marietta High Thursday evening.

Craven had a goal and two assists, one on a corner kick and the other on an impressive cross, to lead the Tigers (6-2-1) to a 4-1 win against visiting Athens at Jerry Brock Field.

MHS fell into a 1-0 hole in the third minute of the match when Athens’ Daniel Goetz scored an unassisted goal. After a 5-0 loss to Parkersburg and a 4-0 loss to Warren recently, the quick score wasn’t something Marietta head coach Todd Morris was hoping to see.

“I didn’t like going down 1-0, especially after the second half we had in Warren,” Morris said. “That’s what we talked about. We have not responded to adversity well. To go down 1-0 and respond the way they did, I thought we took a big step as a team.”

Craven got the equalizer in the 17th minute, slipping a shot past Bulldogs keeper Rider Stock to make it 1-1. Later in the 36th minute, John Mannix found the back of the net with help from Austyn Chen’s assist to give the orange and black a 2-1 advantage.

“We got the equalizer pretty quickly after that and were able to play add-on,” Morris said. “Great effort all the way around.”

Craven showed off some of his foot skills on Marietta’s next two scores. With 1:52 left in the first half, his corner kick sailed to Chen on a bounce, and Chen punched a header past Stock to make it 3-1.

Three minutes into the second half, Craven worked the ball into the left corner and fired a cross to Cade Gandor, who booted it home to make it 4-1.

“Sweet move. Perfect cross,” Gandor said. “I was unmarked and it was an easy finish.”

Gandor scored his first career varsity goal against Williamstown earlier this month and has since had an increased role in Marietta’s attack.

“I like it a lot,” said the sophomore. “I’ve been getting more involved in the attacking and play-making. I like it, but I also like my defensive role as well.”

Morris said Thursday’s victory was the result of a well rounded effort by his team.

“Jake Craven just worked his butt off all night,” Morris said. “He was all over the field.

“Ryan Mannix, not going to show up in the stat sheet, but he was just great at the center-mid position. He played so well. Austyn up top just works and works and works. We worked hard front to back tonight.”

The Tigers finished with seven shots on goal to Athens’ eight. MHS keeper Ian Coleman saved seven of Athens’ shots while Stock registered three saves.

“We really hung together and stayed as a team after we went down 1-0,” Gandor said. “We were able to just keep playing.”

The Tigers have an East Central Ohio League match Monday at New Philadelphia. Morris is hoping Tuesday’s loss to the Warriors sparked a fire under his team.

“We let it get away from us,” Morris said of the rivalry match. “Rightfully so, they were disappointed Tuesday night. But we had a good practice (Wednesday) and talked about what we wanted to do going forward. They responded, and this has been a great group since day one.”