Brady Medinger, Wesley Neal
Picture of John Bruce

John Bruce

Ironton St. Joe flies past Valley, tops Indians with clean sheet

The Flyers are now 7-1.

John Bruce, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

LUCASVILLE – How’s the saying go? Practice makes perfect?

After struggling to score down the middle of the pitch, Ironton St. Joseph focused on scoring from the outside-in during practice this week.

That practice paid off on Tuesday as the Flyers (7-1, 3-0 SOC I) scored all three of their goals against Valley on crosses, leading to a valuable 3-0 win in Southern Ohio Conference play.

Ironton St. Joe’s Brady Medinger helped the Flyers top Valley on Thursday.
CREDIT: Marissa Spradlin/SOSA

“We’ve been kind of weak on stuff like [crosses],” ISJ’s Brady Medinger said. “We’ve noticed that we haven’t scored a lot and something needed to change. A lot of our attack had been going through the middle. In the last few practices, we’ve been working on outside-inside stuff. We used that and it worked well for us.”

Despite a major difference in overall records, Valley (1-5, 1-1 SOC I) entered as the reigning league champion with multiple pieces back from a season ago. Due to that, Ironton St. Joe came out flying — pun intended — and struck first at the 26:20 mark of the first half. 

The play started on the left side where Landon Rowe sent a cross to Zane Dressel. The freshmen quickly crossed the ball to the back post where Wesley Neal scored a beautiful sliding finish to give the Flyers an early advantage. 

Although ISJ had an advantage in the run of play and had a near miss with 11 minutes left in the half when Rowe rattled the woodwork with a blistering left-footed shot, it was Valley that had the best look.

After a smooth flick from Lex Logan on a low cross soared towards the back of the net, St. Joseph’s senior goalkeeper Evan Balestra made a spectacular recovery to deflect the ball just above the bar to keep a 1-0 lead intact.

The Flyers built off the momentum from Balestra’s save, leading to a late half barrage on the Indians’ backline. Ultimately, ISJ cashed an opportunity in from a corner kick from Rowe.

From the left corner, Rowe sent a ball sailing to the back post, where Neal was able to head it back to the opposite post. That’s where a streaking Brady Medinger was there for a header of his own and a 2-0 lead going into the break. 

“We’ve been practicing a lot on getting in on the rebounds,” Neal said. “It’s just being in the right place at the right time.”

The Flyers immediately took off as the second half began as Rowe navigated through the left side before sending a low cross that met the foot of freshman Jack Whaley — who calmly slotted the ball past the diving keeper for a 3-0 lead with 38:39 to play. 

Valley was finally able to put together a sustained offensive attack, leading to another great save from Balestra following a dynamite free kick attempt from Carter Ruby. The Indians continued to pepper the Flyers’ defense, but to no avail, as Balestra and company were able to finish off the clean sheet for a 3-0 win. 

One of the biggest keys to the Flyers’ early season success has been the outstanding play of their freshman class. That group performed well again on Thursday with a goal (Whaley) and an assist (Dressel) in the victory.

“I knew as an upperclassmen that it could be rough,” Medinger said. “You’ve got all these kids transferring from middle school to high school ball. It’s a completely different game. But they’re playing like they’re juniors and seniors. They were awesome tonight. I was really pleased with their performance tonight.”

Valley will look to right the ship on Tuesday when it travels to New Boston. Ironton St. Joseph returns to the road on Monday as they clash with Peebles. 

Scoring Summary

1st Half

26:20 – Wesley Neal (12th); assisted by Zane Dressel (1st)

5:58 – Brady Medinger (9th); assisted by Neal (6th)

2nd Half

38:39 – Jack Whaley (3rd); assisted by Landon Rowe (10th)


Share this post