Marietta girls down Parkersburg Big Reds, 2-1

JOE ALBRIGHT, The Marietta Times Marietta’s Jade Prescher (23) works hard against Parkersburg High’s Ashley Casto during the Tigers’ 2-1 win over the Big Reds Saturday at Stadium Field.

PARKERSBURG — A nine-minute stretch of aggressive play from the Marietta girls soccer team with the game winding down spoiled Parkersburg Senior Day here Saturday afternoon at Stadium Field.

Marietta’s Lexie Mullen snuck two great shots by Parkersburg keeper Sophie Thompson and the Tigers pulled out a 2-1 win over the Big Reds. Both goals were unassisted and were fairly well-contested, but Mullen used her great speed to strike the ball fast and put it where she needed to

“We had some injuries today and I thought our team played really well, despite being down a few players,” said Marietta head man Jeff Price. “We came out very aggressive and PHS made some adjustments, which we countered. We were fortunate to get the win today. We just got enough chances and were able to take advantage of a few of them to get the win.”

The visiting Tigers (7-2-1) dominated possession in the first half of play. The orange and black kept the ball in the offensive zone, but PHS’ Thompson was stout in turning away anything near the net. The Big Reds’ defense, led by senior Ashley Casto, limited its opponents to just two shots on goal in the opening half.

PHS got very few opportunities to put a tally on the scoreboard, but it did take advantage of one of those rare chances. Rylee Boggess broke away from her defender and buried a shot past Tigers’ keeper Brooke Heiss in the 18th minute to put the Big Reds up 1-0.

The senior’s tally was the only score of the opening half for either team as the two squads took a halftime pause. There were also water breaks for the girls at the 20-minute mark of each stanza.

The Big Reds almost had a second goal in the first half as Boggess again got a shot at the rectangle, only to see Heiss deflect the ball. Fortunately for the Big Reds, the ricochet landed right on the boot of Sarah McDonell, but her shot went off the right goalpost and the Big Reds came away with nothing.

Marietta remained aggressive in the second half and really turned up the pressure on the red and white’s point-stopping unit. The Tigers got almost a dozen shots on goal in the closing period and Thompson was there to stop 10 of them.

Mullen finally put the visitors on the board at the 63rd minute when she sent the equalizer sailing over the hands of Thompson. Nine minutes later, she found the back of the net again on almost an exact replay of her first goal.

“We were worried about Mullen’s speed today,” said Casto. “We did a really good job of keeping the ball away from her in the first half and clearing in a few seconds. Unfortunately, she found some ways to make plays and get the goals when her team needed them. It is something good players just know how to do.”

Eric McCoy’s team was unable to rally against what turned into a stout Tigers defensive effort after Boggess’ goal in the first and fell to 3-7-3 on the season.

“Offensively, I think we are shooting ourselves in the foot more than anything,” said McCoy, whose team has had difficulty scoring in the second half of games this season. “We want to score, but we put a lot of pressure on our offense. There is a lot of excitement down around the scoring area and sometimes the game plan goes by the wayside. We have to get to the point where we have faith in our system and trust each other that everything will work out if we stick to the plan. We can’t get down the field and then ad lib around the goal.”