Tyler Hart, Contributor
AMANDA – Teays Valley’s Reese Sauerbrun had an uneventful night in goal on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, four of his teammates scored goals to lead the Vikings to a 6-0 shutout over Amanda-Clearcreek, concluding their Mid-State League schedule.
Late in the season, when momentum is needed the most, Teays Valley (5-7-3, 2-3-2 MSL) seems to be stepping up to the challenge.
“It definitely hasn’t been the year we expected. We’ve had a lot of games that came so close. We made a formation change about five games into the season,” Teays Valley coach Shane Harber said. “4-3-1 over the past eight games with only allowing four goals. So, defensively, that’s been a big key for us.”
Teays Valley’s defense served justice and kept the scoring chances for Amanda to the minimum. The play of the Vikings’ strong back line led to a quiet night for their senior keeper.
“We got a lot of young guys, not so much age but a lot of experience. A lot of our success has come from our back line and with me commanding it, it ties all of that together,” Sauerbrun said.
The Vikings displayed a lot of directional play between the midfielders and forwards in creating an establishment of scoring chances throughout the match.
Senior forward Elijah Suhayda may not have graced the stat sheet early but he made up for it late, ending the night with the match’s final two goals.
Suhayda also did a great job of communicating with his forwards in leading passes between the gaps of Amanda’s back line, which led to numerous looks at the net.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble scoring and putting the small pieces together,” Suhayda said. “Our game plan tonight, we wanted to play it wide. Early on, we realized their outside backs weren’t the best, so we kept beating the ball to the end lines.”
Scoring came early for the Vikings when senior striker Jeremy Hossfeld found the back of the net and beat an Aces defender around the 9’ mark of the first half. Both teams’ offenses then stalled as each looked to control possession while figuring out one another’s tactics.
The Vikings went into the half holding a 2-0 lead behind Drew Thanasack, who scored around the 35’ mark when he capitalized in following up a deflected save.
Thanasack wasted no time in getting the ball rolling again after the break.
After a mishandled pass between two Amanda defenders, Thanasack split the line and found the back of the net to punch his ticket on his second goal of the night.
Shortly thereafter, Brayden Primmer was able to expand the lead to 4-0 behind a powering effort with 24:21 to go. Suhayda then broke free and punched his card twice in the final five minutes of play.
He found the frame at the 5:21 mark and capped the night off with a quick counterattack effort where he booted his second and final goal of the match with 26 seconds to go.
That gave the Vikings a 6-0 shutout win, and more importantly, momentum moving forward.
“One game at a time. Ride for your brothers and play as one team. We come out to practice every day with a great mindset and the willingness to learn and listen,” Sauerbrun said.
Undoubtedly, Harber agreed.
“They want to learn, to get better and have success,” he said. “It’s easy to shut down at this point in the season and they have yet to do that.”
Teays Valley has a talented bunch of senior leaders that is rare to see on a soccer club. The seven seniors displayed great efforts and Harber discussed the leadership of what those individuals bring forth.
“They are great assets to have to look back on and for the other players to look up to. They represent what you should expect from seniors in being the cornerstone of the group,” Harber said. “When things go bad, seniors are usually the first to check out and say, ‘I’m done.’ But they haven’t done that.”
The Vikings will look towards their Senior Night on Saturday, hosting Franklin Heights in their regular season finale. Meanwhile, the Aces (5-9-2, 2-4-1 MSL) will look to get back on track on Oct. 18, hosting Horizon Science Academy in a Division III sectional semifinal.